(CN) – A New York appellate division suspended attorney Richard Adam Marcus for three years for arranging a sham marriage while he was practicing law in California.
Marcus became involved in a custody battle involving Melissa, who was 11 years old when her mother died in 1997.
When Melissa was 16, she was living with her grandparents, and their attorney and Marcus began thinking of ways to get around the court’s decision to return Melissa to her father.
They decided that if Melissa married her boyfriend, then she would not have to return to her father. If their appeal of the order was successful, Melissa could have the marriage annulled and stay with her grandparents.
Melissa married her boyfriend in the Bahamas, hired Marcus as her attorney, and asked him to keep the marriage a secret.
Meanwhile, the grandparents lost the appeal, and Melissa returned to her father briefly before informing him that she was married and was running away to start a new life.
Melissa’s marriage was annulled, and Marcus was sanctioned for filing a frivolous appeal. He was suspended in California, and the Brooklyn-based appellate justices issued a similar ruling.
“In view of the respondent’s lack of remorse, failure to appreciate the seriousness of his conduct, and the deceptive nature of his conduct,” the justices wrote, “we find the imposition of reciprocal discipline is warranted.”