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State appeals court suspends Southtowns attorney for a year

A state appeals court has suspended a Southtowns attorney for a year for failing to comply with disciplinary rules regarding business transactions with clients and the maintenance of trust account funds and records.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, based in Rochester, ordered the suspension for Allithea E. Killeen, who maintained a law office in the Town of Orchard Park or the Town of Boston from 1999 to 2013 when the alleged misconduct occurred, according to a petition filed by the Grievance Committee for the Eighth Judicial District of State Supreme Court, which covers the eight counties of Western New York.

The misconduct charges involved borrowing money from a client, filing two deeds and two discharges of mortgage with the Erie County clerk that Killeen had notarized without requiring the signatory to appear before her, and identifying herself as the attorney for a former client in a case of alleged housing code violations at the former client’s home, even though that client had retained another lawyer in the matter.

The appeals court found that Killeen, 65, whom the court admitted to the practice of law in 1984, “engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

It also found she entered into a business transaction with a client “without disclosing the terms of the transaction to the client in writing and without obtaining in writing the consent of the client to those terms and to her inherent conflict of interest in the transaction.”

It also found that she had commingled client funds with personal funds and made withdrawals from a special account, with the checks made payable to cash and not to a named payee.