A Crystal Lake-based attorney was suspended for a year after he forged his client’s signature on court documents and lied to her about her court case, a disciplinary board said.
Christopher Emerald was first licensed to practice law in Illinois in November 1999.
He is the sole practitioner at CE Law, LLC, which is based in Crystal Lake, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) said.
Emerald concentrates his practice on business law, estate planning and real estate transactions.
The IARDC filed a complaint with their hearing board and alleged that Emerald engaged in misconduct with a client.
In September 2017, Emerald agreed to represent and open a probate estate for a client whose son died in Kane County, according to the complaint.
The client paid Emerald a $2,500 retainer fee.
Emerald later texted his client and said he filed a petition for letters of administration on behalf of her, the complaint said.
However, Emerald had not filed the petition when the text message was sent and knew his statement was false, the complaint said.
The client periodically contacted Emerald regarding the status of the estate and Emerald continued to delay the case for several months, the complaint said.
The IARDC further alleged that Emerald forged his client’s signature on various court documents without her consent when he eventually opened the probate case he had been delaying.
Emerald also forged the signature of his client’s ex-husband, who is the adoptive father of the client’s son.
Emerald was suspended from practicing law for one year effective December 14.
He is also ordered to restitute his client in the amount of $2,500 minus the expenses he incurred and any expenses already paid to his client.