A North Brunswick solo has been disciplined for charging his real estate client $2,025 for title insurance that the carrier provided at no cost.
The offense ordinarily would draw an admonition, but the Disciplinary Review Board recommended censure for Carl Gensib, who had been disciplined in three other cases.
The Supreme Court filed the censure order on Nov. 29, the same day Gensib was reinstated after a six-month suspension.
Gensib represented Kevin Salerno in a January 2007 real estate closing and did not tell him that the title company, Property Transfer Services, was providing the coverage for free.
The seller, Joseph Zicaro, who worked for a mortgage company and had arranged financing for Salerno, obtained the free insurance through a professional relationship with PTS.
After Salerno paid the $2,025 for the title insurance, Gensib issued a refund check in that amount to Zicaro. The complaint charged that, even if the insurance was provided as a professional courtesy to Zicaro, the funds belonged to Salerno.
The District VIII Ethics Committee found Gensib committed three ethics violations and recommended a suspension of one to three months. But the DRB determined he committed two violations and merited a censure.
Gensib was found to have failed to disclose the arrangement to his client, a violation of Rule of Professional Conduct 1.4(c), which covers failure to  sufficiently explain a matter to a client.
Gensib testified that Salerno was at the closing table when Zicaro mentioned the PTS courtesy and asked that the check be made out to him, rather than the insurance company. But Salerno said he did not know the check was made out to Zicaro. The ethics committee found Salerno’s testimony more credible, and the DRB deferred.
Gensib was also found in violation of RPC 1.5(b), failure to communicate the fee in writing. The DRB noted that Gensib represented Salerno once before but found that a written agreement is required unless the attorney regularly represented the client.
The ethics committee also charged Gensib with violating RPC 1.15(b), failure to turn over funds a client or third party is entitled to receive. But the DRB disagreed, finding that to require the funds to be given to Salerno “would be to say that Salerno was entitled to the free benefit that PTS conferred on Zicaro by way of professional courtesy.”
The DRB cited as mitigating factors Gensib’s disciplinary record, as well as his failure to change the HUD-1 form to reflect the payment to Zicaro. Gensib’s  certification that the HUD-1 was accurate constituted a misrepresentation, the DRB said.
Gensib’s lawyer in the latest case, Medford solo David Dugan III, declines to comment.
Gensib’s just-ended suspension stemmed from a false certification that HUD-1 statements he prepared in five closings were accurate.
In June 2011, he was censured for overcharging real estate clients by $300 for title insurance to cover prospective additional closing costs.
And in 2005, he was reprimanded for improperly accepting clients’ signatures in a real estate closing when they had not signed the documents in his presence.
Last year, Gensib was hit with a $1,430 legal malpractice judgment in Gloucester County for authoring false documents, paying himself an unauthorized $950 and distributing ill-gotten funds in connection with a foreclosure rescue deal in Kauffman v. Gensib, GLO-L-2069-08.
Also last year, a $1,835 judgment was entered against him in Jackson v. Gensib, ESC-C-235-08, another foreclosure rescue. He was settlement agent for a transaction allegedly cloaked as a sale-and-lease-back arrangement but designed instead to sap accrued equity.