Former San Diego lawyer, Ernest Georggin, agreed to give up his law license after working as an attorney for more than three decades. NBC 7 Investigates reporter Mari Payton has the story.
Former San Diego lawyer, Ernest Georggin, agreed to give up his law license after working as an attorney for more than three decades.
He did so, after allowing Eric Phillps, who's not an attorney, to open and operate a credit-repair law firm in his name.
NBC 7 Investigates first broke this story online in July.
Georggin also agreed to pay $90,000, plus interest, to 25 former clients of the law firm who filed complaints. See full stipulation here.
Georggin formed Georggin Law with Phillips in 2010. The Bar investigation found that Georggin collected a salary, but Phillips managed the firm. The firm closed down in June.
Last Friday, Georggin admitted to "aiding a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of law, sharing fees with a non-lawyer, and failing to perform legal services of value."
Ernest Georggin did not want to do an on-camera interview with NBC 7 on Wednesday, but did say the following:
"I felt like I had to take some responsibility. I feel deeply saddened by the chain of events this will haunt me for the rest of my life. I will try to eventually get my law license back. I haven't see Eric Phillips in months and I wish him the worst."
A spokesperson for the State Bar Association says the 25 former clients who are eligible to get money from Georggin represent just a portion of the victims.
The organization believes 650 former clients paid the firm advanced fees for services it did not perform.
“I am really happy that that happened because people like that shouldn't be representing the law,” said Guillermina Radovanovic.
Radovanovic and her husband are former Georggin clients. They are not part of the 25 people who will receive financial compensation per the Bar’s investigation.
NBC 7 first interviewed the couple in July, after they paid nearly $3,000 in advance to the law firm. Since then, the couple won their case against Ernest Georggin and Eric Phillips in small claims court. But, they haven't been able to collect their money.
Still, Radovanovic is happy action has been taken against Georggin.
“Even if we don't see any of our money but just knowing that he is going to be taken away from hurting other people financially and emotionally that makes up for everything we went through,” she said.
Several clients say the FBI is continuing their investigation into the Georggin Law Firm.
NBC 7 called Eric Phillips for comment, but messages were not returned.
Former clients who believe they have been victimized may be eligible for restitution through the State Bar’s Client Security Fund.
Click on this link to find out more information about the application process.