DIAMOND BAR ATTORNEY ACCUSED IN LOAN MODIFICATION SCAM FAILS TO APPEAR FOR TRIAL

Contact: Laura Ernde  415-538-2028  laura.ernde@calbar.ca.gov

San Francisco, Sept. 14, 2012 – A Diamond Bar attorney accused of a massive loan modification scam that victimized more than 50 distressed homeowners is facing disbarment by default.

Anthony J. Kassas, 35, [Bar # 227647] was the subject of the most extensive disciplinary charging document in recent State Bar history – 285 counts of misconduct involving 56 clients, contained within a 260-page notice of disciplinary charges filed April 6. The State Bar Court filed an order on Sept. 11 entering Kassas' default and placing him on inactive status after he failed three times to appear to testify at his trial. Unless the default is set aside, Kassas’ disbarment will be recommended to the California Supreme Court.

Kassas was one of several southern California attorneys charged with misconduct as a result of joint investigation by the State Bar's Office of Chief Trial Counsel and the Attorney General's office into law firms and marketing companies running so-called “mass joinder” scams. The scams tricked cash-strapped homeowners into thinking they were potential plaintiffs in a “national litigation settlement,” offering false promises including that their foreclosures would be stayed, their loan balances would be reduced or their homes would be free and clear of their mortgage.

Kassas is accused of improperly soliciting clients, collecting unlawful advance fees, failing to provide proper accounting of funds and aiding the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers. According to State Bar Court Judge Donald F. Miles' recent order, Kassas was served a notice to appear to testify at his trial on Sept. 5 but only his attorney showed up. The court issued an order that Kassas appear on Sept. 6 and another order on Sept. 10, but he failed to appear on either occasion. The court struck Kassas’ responses to the charges and entered his default in the case.

Kassas has been ineligible to practice law since December 2011. Links to public documents in his case can be found on his member profile.

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The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By September 2012, membership reached 238,000.