IN RE: Sebastian RAGUSA

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

IN RE: Sebastian RAGUSA, a suspended attorney. Grievance Committee for the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts, Petitioner, Sebastian Ragusa, Respondent.

Decided: December 30, 2002

A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J., DAVID S. RITTER, FRED T. SANTUCCI, MYRIAM J. ALTMAN, and NANCY E. SMITH, JJ. Diana Maxfield Kearse, Brooklyn, NY, for petitioner.

By decision and order dated April 18, 2000, this court, on its own motion, immediately suspended the respondent upon his plea of guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to the crimes of wilfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of false individual income tax returns, in violation of 26 USC § 7206(2), and corruptly endeavoring to impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue Code, in violation of 26 USC § 7212(a), both Federal felonies.   The order directed the respondent to immediately inform the court of his sentencing.   The respondent was sentenced on September 26, 2001, to concurrent terms of 24 months imprisonment.   By further decision and order dated December 28, 2001, this court, on its own motion, authorized the petitioner to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent, and the issues raised were referred to the Honorable John J. Clabby, as Special Referee to hear and report.

The petitioner now moves to impose discipline upon the respondent based upon his failure to answer the petition, dated January 17, 2002, within 10 days after his receipt thereof, and to impose discipline upon the respondent on the charge set forth in the petition.

The petition, which contains one charge of professional misconduct predicated upon the conviction, was personally served upon the respondent on January 23, 2002, at Devens Federal Medical Facility in Ayer, Massachusetts.   Although the respondent was directed in the decision and order dated December 28, 2001, to answer within 10 days after service of the petition upon him, he failed to do so.   Accordingly, the respondent is in default and the charge in the petition must be deemed established.

Under the circumstances, the petitioner's motion is granted and the respondent is disbarred on default, and effective immediately, his name is stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law.

ORDERED that the petitioner's motion to impose discipline upon the respondent based upon his failure to appear or answer is granted;  and it is further,

ORDERED that, pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90, effective immediately, the respondent, Sebastian Ragusa, admitted to the bar under the name Sebastiano Ragusa, is disbarred and his name is stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law;  and it is further,

ORDERED that the respondent shall continue to comply with this court's rules governing the conduct of disbarred, suspended, and resigned attorneys (see 22 NYCRR 691.10);  and it is further,

ORDERED that pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90, the respondent, Sebastian Ragusa, admitted to the bar under the name Sebastiano Ragusa, is commanded to continue to desist and refrain from (1) practicing law in any form, either as principal or agent, clerk, or employee of another, (2) appearing as an attorney or counselor-at-law before any court, Judge, Justice, board, commission, or other public authority, (3) giving to another an opinion as to the law or its application or any advice in relation thereto, and (4) holding himself out in any way as an attorney and counselor-at-law.

PER CURIAM.

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