State v. Chuparkoff

[Cite as State v. Chuparkoff, 2019-Ohio-2827.] COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA STATE OF OHIO, : Plaintiff-Appellee, : No. 107756 v. : MARK ANDREW CHUPARKOFF, : Defendant-Appellant. : JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED RELEASED AND JOURNALIZED: July 11, 2019 Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-17-614697-A Appearances: Michael C. O’Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Matthew E. Meyer and Jennifer M. Meyer, Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee. Mark Chuparkoff, pro se. ANITA LASTER MAYS, J.: Defendant-appellant Mark Andrew Chuparkoff (“Chuparkoff”) was formerly a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio who was based in Franklin County, Ohio.1 Chuparkoff was indicted on February 28, 2017 for multiple felonies including grand theft, tampering with records, and forgery. Money laundering prohibitions were attached to the charges. The activities took place from December 23, 2015, through May 1, 2016, and included the theft of $75,000 of a medical malpractice settlement that Chuparkoff wrongfully retained. Chuparkoff represented the Lee family, immigrants to the United States who did not speak English, and resided in Butler County, Ohio where the malpractice occurred. The case was filed in Butler County against the attending physician and the urgent care facility involved with the misdiagnosis of Mr. Lee’s hip fracture. The case against the physician was settled with the Lees’ authority. The case against the urgent care facility proceeded to trial where the Lees prevailed. According to the state, due to the time and expense involved with the urgent care facility’s appeal, the Lees requested to drop the case. The state argues that Chuparkoff proceeded without the Lees’ authority or knowledge and settled the case for $75,000 that Chuparkoff retained for his own use. Chuparkoff counters that the Lee family abandoned their part of the suit but allowed him to continue the case to recover his one-third interest of the $289,000 jury verdict. 1 Chuparkoff was not duly licensed throughout the period in question because his law license was suspended on December 23, 2015, relating to a child-support issue. In re Chuparkoff, 144 Ohio St.3d 1286, 2015-Ohio-5474, 45 N.E.3d 1028. The license was reinstated on January 21, 2016, and an interim remedial suspension imposed for engaging in conduct posing a threat of harm to the public. Disciplinary Counsel v. Chuparkoff, 147 Ohio St.3d 1222, 2016-Ohio-5428, 64 N.E.3d 986. Chuparkoff picked up the settlement check from a law firm in Independence, Ohio. The state charged that he forged the check endorsements and filed a fraudulent satisfaction of judgment in Butler County constituting tampering with records. According to the state, Chuparkoff spent the entire sum and most was expended for gambling at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. Counsel was appointed for Chuparkoff in June 2017. Trial was scheduled for June 28, 2017. Chuparkoff requested time to retain new counsel but asserts that he was only given five working days to do so due to the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The trial court granted a continuance and set a pretrial ...

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