Hartford-based solo practitioner Justin Freeman is on interim suspension following his guilty plea for filing false tax returns.
Freeman’s suspension is set to take effective immediately, pending further order from the court, according to Connecticut’s Statewide Grievance Committee. If the suspension exceeds one year, Freeman would have to seek reinstatement to the bar, pursuant to the Connecticut Practice Book.
News of the case against him came this week from the grievance committee, in announcing its latest list of attorneys disciplined for ethics violations.
The 46-year-old Freeman, who will also cooperate with the grievance committee on an audit of his IOLTA account, was one of six attorneys cited for disciplinary action during February. Rockville attorney Donald Howard has been appointed trustee and will take control of Freeman’s IOLTA account and disburse amounts as the court approves.
Freeman, a Manchester resident, pleaded guilty in November to filing false tax returns from 2010 to 2012. The government said he underreported more than $1 million. He faces upward of three years in prison and a fine of up to $840,000 when he is sentenced April 3.
Freeman pleaded guilty to a federal tax charge: one count of filing a false tax return. He paid $419,259 in back taxes and agreed to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service to pay all outstanding taxes, interest and penalties.
Freeman, whose website describes his practice as “real-world law for real-world people,” specializes in family law, personal injury and criminal defense. He ran The Law Office of Justin C. Freeman.
According to the Nov. 28 plea agreement between the government and Freeman, the attorney reported $476,228 in total taxes for 2010 but actually earned $860,041. For 2011, he reported $410,002 in total income while earning nearly $1.1 million, and in 2012 he reported $529,673 but took in $696,559.
According to the plea agreement, Freeman waived his right to be indicted when he pleaded guilty. He also agreed to say he signed, under penalty of perjury, a 1040 IRS form that he caused his tax preparer to prepare and file with the IRS.
“Freeman signed those tax returns and caused them to be filed with the IRS willfully, that is, with the specific intent to violate the tax laws,” the plea agreement states.
The 11-page plea agreement also states that the court may impose a term of supervised release of not more than one year to begin with any term of imprisonment. If Freeman violates the condition of the supervised release, the plea agreement states, “he may be required to serve a further term of imprisonment of up to one year per violation pursuant to the U.S. Code with no credit for time already spent on supervised release.”