A Pasadena lawyer was suspended by the California BAR for accepting $45,500 from struggling homeowners in illegal advance fees for loan modifications and legal work that he never performed.
The attorney, Art Hoomiratana, 35, had shown a pattern of misconduct since December 2011 when he was hired by a homeowner to represent him in litigation against his California residential mortgage lender, Bank of America, and obtain a loan
modification. The client paid Hoomiratana a total of $15,000 in advanced attorney’s fees.
According to the BAR complaint, the homeowner received a loan modification offer from his lender which he accepted in October 2012 but Hoomiratana never filed a lawsuit against the lender as he was hired to do. The homeowner sent him an email in December 2012, requesting an itemization of costs and a refund.
Hoomiratana never provided the client with a refund or an accounting of legal work. It wasn’t until after the homeowner filed a complaint with the State Bar of California that Hoomiratana began making payments to the client in order to refund the illegal fees.
The California BAR ruled that by collecting $15,000 in attorney fees from the client before Hoomiratana had fully performed
each and every service that he said he would perform, Hoomiratana violated Civil Code section 2944.7, in wilful violation of
Business and Professions Code section 6106.3.
In another case, a homeowner hired Hoomiratana in October 2012 to represent him in civil litigation, specifically, filing a lawsuit against the client’s lender, OCWEN, according to the original complaint. Between October 4, 2012 and February 26, 2013, Hoomiratana was paid in six installments totaling $9,000 for which he did file a lawsuit and performed legal work but failed to provide Bauarschi with a timely accounting of his services upon termination of the attorney-client relationship when the client e-mailed to terminate his services.
The BAR ruled that by failing to account for the sum of $9,000 Hoomiratana received as advanced fees for legal services to be performed after the client terminated the agreement on March 22, 2013. Hoomiratana failed to render appropriate accounts to a client regarding all funds coming into his possession, in willful violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 4-100(B)(3).
Hoomiratana was suspended from the practice of law by the BAR for 60 days in March 2016 and ordered to take the MPRE and make $7,500 IN restitution. He was also placed on one year of probation and faces a one-year suspension if he does not comply with the terms of his disciplinary probation.