A Bakersfield attorney charged with misappropriating nearly $1 million from a client has denied the five counts filed against her and is asking the next hearing against her be postponed to May, according to a document filed in State Bar Court.
Heather Stanley told the state bar in the document that she is out on medical leave after undergoing major surgery on Dec. 5, 2016. She said she had given prior notice to the State Bar's Office of Chief Trial Counsel regarding the surgery and anticipated recovery period, the document said.
"Due to the extensive surgery, as well as post-surgery issues, respondent is unable to effectively participate in these proceedings until at least May of 2017," Stanley wrote in the document, filed Feb. 23.
To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Stanley. The State Bar investigates complaints of attorney misconduct and has the power to recommend the California Supreme Court suspend or disbar attorneys who it finds have committed acts of professional misconduct or been convicted of serious crimes.
Stanley did not return calls to her office and home on Monday. Previous attempts by the The Californian to contact her have been unsuccessful.
State Bar spokeswoman Laura Ernde confirmed a status conference is scheduled for March 29.
In August 2010 and May 2011, Stanley received two checks on behalf of a client totaling $1,052,311.57. In 2013, and took $955,000 for her own use, according to disciplinary charges brought by the Office of Chief Trial Counsel in December.
The State Bar said Stanley 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 issued a "consumer alert" in early February notifying the public of the charges against Stanley.
The State Bar urged anyone who believes he or she has been the victim of attorney misconduct to file a complaint with the agency.