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By Brian Hews
Cerritos City Council candidate Frank Aurelio Yokoyama has been suspended by the California State Bar from practicing law after he was cited for several violations, Los Cerritos Community Newspaper has learned.
Yokoyama, 44, was suspended from practicing law on January 7, 2012 by Judge Richard A. Platel of the California State Bar Court. Court documents obtained by LCCN show that Yokoyama had agreed to the suspension back on December 7, 2012.
In the Suspension Order, Yokoyama is cited by California State Bar officials for “intentionally, or by gross negligence committed as act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption in willful violation of Business and Professional Code, section 6016.”
The 12 page document was sent to LCCN on Tuesday afternoon from a former member of the Cerritos City Council who did not want to be identified. The councilmember told LCCN that “several people were sent the document” over the weekend.
In the Order, Yokoyama was required to complete 25 hours of minimum continuing education, known as MCLE, during the period of February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2011.
Yokoyama told State Bar officials that he “was in compliance with the MCLE requirements,” when in fact he had not complied with any MCLE courses within the compliance period.”
“When Respondent (Yokoyama) reported to the State Bar that he was in compliance with the MCLE requirements, (Yokoyama) knew or was grossly negligent in not knowing that he had not completed the MCLE during the compliance period as required,” Ashod Mooradian, Deputy Trial Counsel’s stated in the decision.
Yokoyama eventually took the required courses “necessary to come into compliance after being contracted by Membership Services (of the California State Bar) after an audit was conducted by state officials.
Yokoyama, who is considered one of the front runners in the upcoming Cerritos City Council election, told LCCN that in 2008 he took a course “that I believed would fufil my continuing education requirement with the California State Bar Association.”
“Last year (2012), I received a notice upon receiving this notification from the CSB. I immediately complied, completed and fully cooperated with this request,” Yokoyama said.
“As the State Bar stated in their decisions, I have practiced law for 17 years without any prior incidents and have never harmed a client,” Yokoyama told LCCN.
“I take full responsibility for my error,” he said.
“I continue to focus on running a positive campaign so we can move Cerritos forward.”
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