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Attorney Gets Disbarred for Faking Email to Cover Up Missed Deadline

By Melanie Rauch, JD | Reviewed by Joseph Fawbush, Esq. | Last updated on

Attorney Andrea JoAnne David-Vega resorted to manufacturing a client email in an attempt to cover up her error of letting the statute of limitations run out on her client's case.

Disbarred for Deception

The Georgia Supreme Court issued a disbarment verdict against attorney Vega on March 5, after finding her guilty of creating a deceptive email to falsely indicate that she had been terminated by her client before the lapse of a filing deadline.

Vega presented the counterfeit email during her disciplinary proceedings and during a malpractice lawsuit initiated by her client in October 2020. The Georgia Supreme Court noted the email's deviation in font and formatting compared to genuine communications from Vega's client. In addition, the email in question used perfect grammar and punctuation, as opposed to emails from her client, which did not.

Unraveling the Fabrication

In her testimony, Vega conceded that she crafted the email to impersonate her client, Fadi L. Milan, dismissing her services before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Vega did this to avoid a malpractice lawsuit.

The Excuse

In an attempt to provide mitigating circumstances for her actions, Vega's counsel recounted how Vega overburdened herself by accepting the role of special assistant attorney general for the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services. This role added 200 cases in Gwinnett County, Georgia, and another 150 in a nearby county to her docket, on top of her existing private practice.

The Supreme Court acknowledged Vega's struggle with her workload, noting her inability to decline new cases and seek help. Her personal life also contributed to her stress, as she was the caretaker to her elderly mother and stepfather. Yet, none of this impacted the court's decision.

No Mercy From the Georgia Supreme Court

The court showed no mercy, despite Vega previously having a clean disciplinary record and her showing deep regret for her conduct. Even though a special master initially recommended a two-year suspension, the court decided on disbarment, concluding that disbarment aligned with previous decisions where attorneys made false statements to the court.

The adage that the coverup is often worse than the crime is proven true once again.

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