The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled Monday to disbar Powder Springs attorney Robert Bach after he “willfully and dishonestly” collected money from clients without performing services.
Bach was 78 when he was arrested in February 2011 on 25 counts of theft by taking and five counts of theft by conversion—all felonies.
The police investigation began when clients reported that Bach didn’t file Chapter 7 bankruptcy paperwork through the court system after he was paid to do so.
Bach couldn't be reached for comment.
After his arrest, Larry White, a lawyer who previously shared a Marietta Street office with Bach, said he didn’t believe Bach had any “ill intent” but simply developed forgetfulness with age.
“When I first started out with Bob years ago, he was a very good attorney and was up until probably, I don’t know, five (or) six years ago,” White said in 2011. “Things started going downhill. But he was in here with me and my wife, and we helped him out and kept him straight pretty much.”
The progression of Bach’s mental issues led to him moving out of the office and into one on his own further down Marietta Street, where his name can faintly be seen on a large vertical sign with multiple business names on it.
After Bach moved, White said, “he still had a pretty active practice, so there’s a lot of people coming and going.”
Perhaps, White said, having such a large clientele became too much for Bach to handle, and Bach wouldn’t ask for help. Some of Bach’s customers even came to him, he added.
“We’ve had a number of people come to me, asking where Bob’s at, complaining that Bob took their money and didn’t do the work,” he said. “I think there has been two or three that have actually come in and (asked) me to do a case that they had paid Bob to do.”
The State Bar served Bach “Notices of Discipline” personally, but he failed to file any “Notices of Rejection,” the Supreme Court ruling says. This resulted in Bach waiving his right to an evidentiary hearing, it says.
The full ruling is attached.
It says Bach represented clients in “numerous bankruptcy cases and, with respect to some or all of them, did not file the petition, closed his office without notifying his clients, did not refund an unearned fee, abandoned the matter and failed to communicate with his clients, falsely told a client the case was proceeding on schedule, was suspended from practice in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia and did not completely represent his clients in that court or properly supervise his non-lawyer support staff, did not comply with Bankruptcy Court orders to pay a filing fee and to disgorge a fee, and failed to appear in court."