* A New York court ruled that an attorney’s acceptance of reimbursements from his employer for charitable contributions he falsely claimed to have made, and for his wife’s personal travel expenses, justified the loss of his license to practice law. It is rare for attorneys to lose their license to practice law because of misconduct. It is worth noting the kinds of misconduct that the legal profession deems severe enough to warrant this punishment. In a recent case, an attorney was disbarred for (1) receiving reimbursements from his law firm for charitable contributions he falsely claimed to have made to a charity, and (2) receiving reimbursements from his law firm for his wife’s personal travel expenses. Based on these “wrongs” the state bar struck the attorney’s name from the roll of attorneys.
Application. What is the significance of this case to church leaders? Simply this-it demonstrates the seriousness of conduct that is all too common among churches. How many pastors and other church employees have requested reimbursement from their church for their wife’s personal expenses under a reimbursement policy that only reimburses business expenses? This case illustrates the importance of complying strictly with the requirements of an accountable business expense reimbursement arrangement. In the matter of Welt, 743 N.Y.S.2d 482 (N.Y. App. 2002).
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