Attorney Vincent J. Bautista of Mesa has consented to disbarment after he chose not to contest the State Bar’s Complaint alleging that while working as a trust officer at a bank, he removed funds from various client trusts and placed them in the account of an entity that he controlled.
Bautista worked for First International Bank as a trust account officer who was responsible for administering client trust accounts. The bank grew concerned over expenditures from trust accounts he was trustee for, specifically payments made to Arizona Trust Network, an entity registered under Bautista’s name and controlled by him.
The bank addressed their concern with him and he said the payments totaling $21,680 were for outside legal work to assist him in carrying out his duties as a trustee. Bautista claimed the legal work was completed by a former law school classmate. It was found that no client had asked for the asserted legal work and that his classmate did not perform any of it.
Adding to the false claims, Bautista fraudulently prepared, signed, and backdated engagement letters in an effort to legitimize the work he alleged was performed. During that time, he was terminated from First International Bank.
In August 2016, he urged a trust beneficiary to invest $150,000 in trust funds into Net Ventures, LLC, another entity owned by Bautista. When the Bank learned of the investment, it requested he repay the trust. He was unable to pay the trust because he no longer had the funds.
Vincent J. Bautista’s disbarment was effective June 12, 2018.