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Despite the New Jersey Disciplinary Review Board’s recommendation that he be disbarred, ethics prosecutors are seeking a one-year suspension for South Orange, N.J., solo Vincent Bevacqua, who was caught trying to buy a wide-screen television and a Sony PlayStation with phony credit cards. “We’re in somewhat unfamiliar water, but the case law supports a one-year suspension,” Office of Attorney Ethics counsel Walton Kingsbery III told the New Jersey Supreme Court on September 12. Bevacqua attempted to use one phony credit card at an Old Bridge K-Mart on Nov. 18, 2001. The card was declined and he returned two days later with another one made out in the name of a different person. A suspicious store clerk called police, who in arresting Bevacqua found he also was carrying a fake ID card. Bevacqua admitted using the fake cards and was accepted into the pretrial intervention program. The DRB based its disbarment recommendation on Bevacqua’s two prior ethics violations, but the OAE said the suspension was sufficient. Bevacqua, who represented himself Sept. 13, admitted that he engaged in wrongdoing but said he has never been a threat to his clients. “I’m probably going to break down and I’ll probably annoy you. Please bear with me,” he told the Court. He said a client offered him the cards as payment for his services and he acquiesced, even though he knew it was wrong, he said. “The client told me to go ahead and charge whatever I want,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t above board from the start.” When Justice Barry Albin asked Bevacqua whether he was having financial difficulties at the time, he replied “No, it was just the convergence of other things in my life that made me do something stupid. I was kind of temporarily crazy.” Bevacqua asked the Court to follow the OAE’s recommendation of suspension. The case is In the Matter of Vincent Bevacqua, D-125-04.

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