The State Bar of California has issued a "consumer alert" notifying the public that it has charged a Bakersfield attorney with taking nearly $1 million from a client and then falsely telling a State Bar investigator she had paid back the money.

As previously reported, Heather Stanley, 45, faces possible disbarment if the charges are proven in State Bar Court and the California Supreme Court approves disbarment.

What's new is the alert, which the State Bar issues when attorneys are accused of misappropriating $25,000 or more from their clients, said spokeswoman Laura Ernde.

In August 2010 and May 2011, Stanley received two checks on behalf of a client totaling $1,052,311.57. In 2013, she took $955,000 for her own use, according to disciplinary charges brought by the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel in December.

The State Bar said Stanley also ignored eight requests from her client to account for the money and when confronted by a State Bar investigator, falsely said she bought cashier’s checks and returned the money to the client, according to the charges.

The State Bar urged anyone who believes he or she has been the victim of attorney misconduct to file a complaint with the agency.

Previous attempts by The Californian to contact Stanley about this case have been unsuccessful.

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