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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88819
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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If an attorney is a sitting trustee on a municipal board and

Resolved Question:

If an attorney is a sitting trustee on a municipal board and willfully withholds information about possible fraud in the Village, are there legal,professional standards he should be accountable to?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
The attorney has an ethical duty as well as a fiduciary duty to the board to report "known" fraud, not just possible fraud. This seeming symantic difference is a big difference legally, it is one thing for the attorney to be told about some possible fraud and another for the attorney to actually know fraud is taking place and he only has an ethical and fiduciary duty to report the latter. If he has withheld evidence of a fraud, this is breach of duty to the village board he represents.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As it turns out , there was no fraud. When he was told 2 months ago he did not know if it was true or false. There was a resident who told him about possible fraud. He did not bring that forward to the board but 2 months later brought forward when asked on an audit report. As an attorney and elected official did he have a professional responsibility to bring even the suggestion of fraud 2 months ago forward? And me as President of the board, do I have any recourse with this attorney/trustee? Thank you!!!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
No, he did not have a duty to bring up the "suspected" fraud, as I said, he had a fiduciary and ethical duty to bring up fraud of which he had knowledge, this is a big difference legally even though it does not seem to be a big difference or seems to be playing word games to the general public. As there was no known fraud the attorney has no duty to disclose it to the president or any other member of the board. Had he learned that there was indeed fraud, then at that point he had a duty to disclose it to you.

Even if he failed to disclose it to you, as president, you would not have any personal cause of action against him, any cause of action would be the board taking action against him for breach of his fiduciary duty and ethical duty to the village and malfeasance in his office for failure to act on the known fraud.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88819
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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