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Two lawyers accept bar discipline

A Springfield lawyer who took up with a gambling man 15 years ago has lost her law license for a year based on a federal felony conviction.

Sharon R. Connelly told a federal judge in 2007 she had no idea her friend, Raj Kumar Bansal, was running a gambling operation until he pleaded guilty to federal racketeering conspiracy charges, according to a published account.

Judge Claude Hilton acquitted Connelly of racketeering conspiracy, but found her guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering. She got two years probation. Now, her conviction has cost her the temporary loss of her law license.

Connelly had retired as director of the Office of Inspector and Auditor at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when she met Bansal in 1997. Federal authorities said Bansal was a ringleader of a organized crime family running a multimillion-dollar sports gambling operation from Fairfax County.

With hundreds of clients, the ringleaders organized illegal bets on football and trafficked in marijuana, a police official told The Washington Post in 2006.

The Virginia State Bar disciplinary board imposed Connelly’s one year suspension Aug. 24. The suspension was retroactively effective as of Jan. 1. Connelly will have to take 60 hours of continuing legal education before resuming the practice of law, according to the VSB.

Meanwhile, a Fairfax attorney has surrendered his law license admitting he fooled a client into thinking his cases were pending in the courts when, in fact, they were either dismissed or never filed in the first place.

Shannon M. Guignon agreed to revocation of his law license on July 30, according to the VSB.

Guignon acknowledged he fabricated settlement agreements and sent them to his client. The client eventually got wise and sued. The legal malpractice claim against Guignon reportedly was settled this year.

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