Monday, June 28, 2004
Ex-Rancho Cucamonga Lawyer Indicted on Gun, Tax Charges
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A former Rancho Cucamonga attorney was arrested Friday and detained after being indicted on charges of witness tampering, trying to carry a loaded handgun on an airplane, and failure to file income tax returns, federal prosecutors said.
James S. Davis, 50, was scheduled to make his first court appearance on the charges late Friday at the Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen Rhyne told the MetNews.
The arrest comes one month after the California Supreme Court accepted Davis’ resignation from the State Bar. The 20-year lawyer had been accused of multiple ethical violations.
The charges included trying to mislead a judge at a hearing into a dispute over $675,000 in attorney fees; commingling personal and client funds; misappropriating client funds and allowing the balance of his trust account funds to fall below the amount necessary to satisfy obligations to clients; improperly delaying payment of a client’s share of a settlement and diverting clients’ funds to other purposes without their consent; forging a client’s signature on a discovery response; and bouncing trust account checks.
In the criminal cases, Davis is accused of trying to board a plane with a concealed loaded handgun on June 28, 2002, and signing a form in which he allegedly falsely represented that he was authorized by the U.S. Customs Service to fly armed. In 2003, Davis allegedly pretended to be a Homeland Security employee to buy a Southwest Airlines ticket at a federal government discounted rate.
A separate indictment charges Davis with tax evasion, filing a false statement in a loan application and witness tampering.
That indictment alleges that Davis earned more than $1 million in taxable income from his law practice, James Davis and Associates, between 1999 and 2001, and owed more than $360,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Davis allegedly tried to conceal his income from the IRS by submitting false information to his accountants, providing false information to IRS investigators and improperly characterizing income from his law practice, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After the IRS served search warrants on his home and business in July 2002, Davis allegedly sent threatening letters to various individuals who had information about the investigation.
He accused them of filing “false reports with the IRS’ and threatened to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Davis also is accused of threatening to file criminal reports against the individuals, naming them as “suspects” and creating a Web site offering a “$10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction” of those individuals, according to federal prosecutors. The witness tampering charge stems from that alleged conduct.
The case against Davis resulted from an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General.
Davis was in custody Friday afternoon and it was unclear whether he would be released on bail, Rhyne said.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company