New Haven Superior Court New Haven Superior Court. Courtesy photo

A New Haven-based attorney who spent 21 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme has been reinstated, with conditions, to practice law in Connecticut.

David C. Kinney, 59, had applied for reinstatement after he served his prison term, which was completed in April 2014. After his release from federal prison, Kinney was ordered to serve six months’ home confinement in a halfway house, followed by 2 1/2 months of home confinement. Kinney, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of conspiracy and one count of making a false statement, was also ordered to pay more than $507,000 in restitution.

According to the June report of court disciplinary action released this week by the office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, New Haven Superior Court Judge Linda Lager granted Kinney’s request for reinstatement on June 12, with a two-year probationary period. The reinstatement took place immediately and Kinney is currently working as an attorney at The Gunning Law Firm in New Haven. Kinney declined to comment Wednesday for this story.

Lager’s two-page order includes numerous conditions by which Kinney must abide. Among them: Kinney must complete 20 hours of continuing legal education courses in 2018 and then 20 more hours in 2019; and he must utilize mentor attorney David Grudberg for the two-year probationary period. Kinney must meet with Grudberg, of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey, twice a month in person and must also communicate with him weekly via email or phone. Grudberg must also submit a report to the office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, saying whether Kinney complied with the judge’s order.

Other requirements in Lager’s order: Kinney must have malpractice insurance coverage until he retires from the practice of law; he must limit his areas of practice to personal injury and workers’ compensation matters; and he must make a plan to comply with his outstanding financial obligations.

Grudberg declined to comment Wednesday. And William Dow III, the New Haven criminal defense lawyer who represented Kinney and worked on his application for readmission, did not respond to a request for comment. Dow is with Jacobs & Dow.

According to a 2013 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, Kinney participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy in 2006 and 2007 by acting as the settlement agent handling fraudulent real estate transactions in New London County. As part of the scheme, the government said Kinney submitted false Housing and Urban Development-1 settlement statements to lenders. In certain cases, the government said, Kinney released a disbursement check before he had received the down payments listed on the HUD-1 settlement statement. Furthermore, the government said, Kinney told FBI agents he had never given anyone a closing check prior to receiving the down payment for the closings, when he had done so on multiple occasions.

Michael Bowler, statewide bar counsel for the Statewide Grievance Committee, declined to comment Wednesday, telling the Connecticut Law Tribune, “The decision speaks for itself.”

 

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