Mr. and Mrs. Bertini must not have warned their son, Christopher, about the dangers of hanging out with the wrong crowd. Either that or he forgot the lesson.
Not only will morally lax friends lead you astray and get you in trouble. They’ll also rat you out when they get caught doing something they shouldn’t have.
Christopher Bertini grew up to be a lawyer and eventually found himself trolling in the same waters as Edinburg hailstorm attorney Kent Livesay. Livesay was too clever by half. He illegally paid roofers and adjusters to line up clients for him and even “represented” some of those “clients” without their knowledge or permission.
Bertini should have known better, but apparently he seemed to be intrigued by Livesay’s dubious business model.
Livesay got away with it for a while, but the Texas State Bar's Commission for Lawyer Discipline eventually got wise to his tactics and secured a judgment of professional misconduct against him for demanding hail storm damages from Allstate on behalf of a client he did not actually represent.
The Commission censured Livesay for violating the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and required him to surrender his law license for a year. He also had to pay nearly $2,300 in attorney’s fees, publish notice of his censure in the Texas Bar Journal, notify all clients of his suspension, and return all files, papers, monies, and property belonging to them.
Following an investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Fraud Unit, Livesay was indicted, pled guilty to insurance fraud and barratry, and was sentenced to five years in prison. During sentencing, he implicated Bertini and two other Texas attorneys allegedly in on the scheme.
TDI made the most of Livesay’s information and did some more investigating. Bertini is now facing felony charges for insurance fraud, barratry, and money laundering. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Any other attorneys thinking about following in the footsteps of Livesay and Bertini had better think again.