Certified Public Accountant Sustained Federal Felony Fraud Conviction – Allowed to Keep License and Practice

A Federal, Felony, Fraud Conviction by a California Certified Public Accountant is traditionally an automatic license revocation by the California Board of Accountancy; however, our Client was not only allowed to keep their license, they were able to continue to practice as a solo practitioner without supervision.

Our office represented a CPA who was facing an Accusation from the California Board of Accountancy asking to revoke their license. Our Client had pled guilty to a felony fraud conviction in federal court in the preceding years, and the Board had filed suit to revoke their license. Our client had practiced in California for decades, and absent the one conviction (albeit a large conviction) they suffered no other criminal law contact, license discipline, or even employment discipline.

Our client’s conviction stemmed from their employment as a CPA and resulted in a prison sentence, fines, and substantial restitution. When the California Board filed suit, several attorneys told our Client that they would not be able to keep their license. When the CPA called our office, we explained that it was a long shot. Our client was not the typical person you would think went to prison, or was convicted of a federal offense. Our client was kind, had a long history of professionalism, had a successful practice, had the support of his clients (who knew about his conviction), and had the support of his community. We advised our client that there was no guarantee, but that we would do everything we could to help save their license and their career.

After marching through the Board’s Disciplinary Guidelines, we gathered declarations from support from dozens of individuals attesting to our client’s remorse, acceptance of responsibility, and excellence in accounting. Our client completed extensive continuing education courses, and completed all requirements of their federal conviction (i.e. paid their fines and restitution). Our office argued that our Client had a small practice where they provided tax assistance to a small subset of long-time clients – all of whom were aware of their criminal conviction and pending Board matter.

After substantial negotiations, and submitting dozens of documents in mitigation, the Deputy Attorney General agreed that our client had earned a second chance. With the Deputy Attorney General’s support our client was ultimately able to not only keep their license, but also allowed to keep their Accountancy practice, without being required to secure “supervision.”

Although there is a large presumption that a federal felony fraud conviction is an automatic revocation of a CPA license, that is not the case in every matter. With a showing of substantial mitigation and rehabilitation our office was able to help our client maintain their career and livelihood.  

If you are a Certified Public Accountant and are facing an Accusation/Investigation, or have sustained a criminal arrest/conviction do not hesitate to contact our office or call us at (619) 237-6310 to see how our office can be of service.

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