A lawyer expelled in 2012 for criminal behavior was reinstated by order of the Supreme Court.
Richard A. Sand, 69, former White Bear Township chief executive officer, received a positive ruling from the court on Wednesday after meeting the requirements for reinstatement and showing the majority that he had undergone the moral change needed. There was a dissent.
Sand was jailed in 2011 for participating in a fraudulent loan program that resulted in a $ 2 million deal on an Orono residential lot. According to the ruling, Sand filed fake loan applications on behalf of his 86-year-old mother. He then diverted the fraudulently received funds for his own use, including repaying a foreclosed property he owned in St. Paul.
He was sentenced to 30 months in prison for supporting wire fraud and again for money laundering, and served 14 months in prison before he was released. He was expelled in 2012.
He applied for reinstatement in November 2018. This prompted the Director of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board to investigate a complaint made by a client in 2013 that included real estate transactions in which his client lost money.
This claim was not initially investigated as sand was excluded when the complaint was received.
The court found on Wednesday that Sand voluntarily agreed to repay and made monthly payments to the customer. He’s also working with an attorney to create a contractual repayment plan, the court found.
Associate Justice Gordon Moore disagreed, despite “acknowledging commendable progress.”
“I do not believe Sand has fulfilled his heavy burden of providing clear and convincing evidence to ‘demonstrate current ability to adhere to the strict code of professional ethics,'” wrote Moore, citing the 1979 court judgment on Peterson. “Nor do I think that enough time has passed to warrant reinstatement.”
The majority agreed with Moore that the three-member LPBR panel relied only on Sand’s testimony to determine if his behavior had changed, but decided that it was not a reason to oppose reinstatement. “We have never claimed that a petitioner has to provide a testimony to ensure reinstatement,” said Wednesday’s order.
In each case, the court said, the LPBR director’s investigation contained confirmatory statements. Sand has borne its burden, decided the majority.
Like the Supreme Court, the attorney’s Professional Responsibility Board dealing with the matter had an dissenting member.
Sand, who was first admitted to the Minnesota bar in 1979, worked as a paralegal at Sand Law LLC, a personal injury practice owned by his two sons.
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