Tag Archives: Illinois

Chicago Justinian Society of Lawyers honors past presidents including Michael V. Favia

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

2013 Past Presidents Dinner at Quartinos

Members of The Justinian Society of Lawyers recently celebrated their past presidents at a recent dinner in Chicago on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Hardworking past presidents are recognized at the annual dinner in thanks for their commitment to mission, fostering the spirit of friendship, improving the legal education of members, rendering mutual aid to members, promoting the general welfare of members and participating in civic and community affairs, so as to ensure the proper administration of justice. With fundraising, scholarship and mentor programs, today’s Justinians are busy preserving and furthering their long-standing of excellence in the Chicago legal community.

While current members have law school loans, some of the founding members owed families for their emigration to the U.S. to seek new opportunities and careers in law.

The Justinian Society of Lawyers, originally named the Justinian Society of Advocates, was formed in October 17, 1921 and officially chartered four days later. “It was a crisp autumn afternoon, over three quarters of a century ago, when all but 10 of the approximately 40 Chicago lawyers of Italian descent, who, bound by professional and ethnic ties and conscious of their heritage…[i]” met and elected to form the group. Many of the original members of the group were from immigrant families from Italy and they worked hard to support families who sacrificed for their opportunity to become lawyers in the U.S. Some of the founding Justinians were military and political leaders and the group collectively represented a compelling mix of talent and leadership.

Today there are approximately 1,500 Justinians and the list of impressive accolades among members are too numerous to mention in this short article. To qualify for membership, a candidate must be a practicing or retired lawyer or judge, or a currently enrolled law student. At monthly meetings, the Justinians conduct business matters including planning for scholarships and awards. There is also a mentor program through which members may further the Justinians’ mission to benefit the legal community by working directly with newly licensed Illinois attorneys. Both mentors and mentees receive six Professional Responsibility CLE credits upon successful completion of the program[ii].

Justinians are very dedicated to community and work hard to raise money and awareness.

Annual scholarships are available for law students attending area schools, of Italian ancestry and are scholars in need. The Justinians also maintain the Children’s Endowment Fund (“JCEF”), established in 2002 to be charitable and benevolent. “The mission of the JCEF is to assist and aid disadvantaged or disabled children without regard to ethnicity, race or religion.[iii]” Every year the Justinians hold a golf outing to raise money for the JCEF.

Justinian presidents set and implement term goals to improve communication among members and law schools. While holding office, presidents oversee several committees and increase participation among all members. Past president, Michael V. Favia was among those honored among fellow past presidents of the Justinian Society of Lawyers including several past Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association presidents, State Court Judges and Appellate Court Justices.

Michael V. Favia, past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, practices healthcare and injury law and litigation in Chicago. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.FaviaLawFirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

11,000 tablets of Oxycodone: Illinois physician’s license is on the line

Gregory M Bulava MD

Gregory M Bulava MD

This week the medical disciplinary board of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) was scheduled to hold a hearing on the status of Dr. Gregory M. Bulava, MD’s license to practice medicine in Illinois. The IDFPR temporarily suspended Bulava’s license upon accusations he prescribed over 11,000 Oxycodone painkiller pills to an individual patient. The IDFPR can suspend a professional license, on a temporary basis, when there is a report of wrongdoing. In this case the report suggested Bulava lied to the US DEA when they investigated him. According to the complaint, Bulava, “Told them that the people whose names were on the prescriptions were patients of his who were hurt on the job or were involved in vehicle accidents.[i]

Be aware that private professional listing sites are not primary sources of information about a professional’s license status.

Dr. Bulava can be found on several healthcare industry ratings websites as a board certified family practitioner, in many cases with positive ratings[ii]. Note that as of the 26th of November 2013, the date of this entry, Dr. Bulava appears on websites to be a practitioner in good standing despite the fact that the state has temporarily suspended his license. This is important to highlight for consumer shopping for physicians. State licensing boards such as the IDFPR are primary sources of licensing and inquiries as to the professional’s license history. Private websites, while often containing patient reviews, are not the primary source for determining is the physician is actively licensed to practice.

There are many published articles identifying the abuse of painkillers, specifically oxycodone (often known by brand-named OxyContin). An article on the popular and consumer-friendly WebMD site, Dr. Drew Pinsky (famous of the Loveline radio show) is quoted as stating, “What makes OxyContin dangerous is not only that it’s addictive, it can also be lethal…It makes you feel you can tolerate more, but it can precipitate respiratory failure, especially when used with other drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepenes.[iii]

Instructions on looking up a professional’s license status with the IDFPR:

"The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday that Gregory M. Bulava provided the person with prescriptions in the names of people who were never the doctor's patients."

AP: “The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday that Gregory M. Bulava provided the person with prescriptions in the names of people who were never the doctor’s patients.”

To search for a professional and reports of misconduct you can visit www.idfpr.com then use the “License Look Up” link that appears under the “Agency Quick Links” section in the upper left column of the IDFPR home page. When you click on “License Look Up” you will be directed select the profession in the drop down list, in this case, select Physician. Next, enter the last name, Bulava, and click/tap the “Search” button. The results showing as of the date of this article, the licensee’s name, Gregory M. Bulava MD has multiple licenses and their status is suspended. There is a button on the right of the search result grid for Dr. Bulava with a “Y” on the icon reading “Ever Disciplined?” When you click on that yes icon, you are directed to the page identifying “Temporary Suspension – 11/22/2013 – License temporarily suspended for non-therapeutic prescribing of controlled substances.”

If the IDFPR continues the suspension and takes further disciplinary actions, that information may be included in IDFPR monthly disciplinary reports that contain information that is more specific. By way of example, click/tap here to view the IDFPR monthly disciplinary report for October 2013. When the IDFPR makes its disciplinary report, if any, in this case, further information will be listed on the website and this blog will be updated at that time.

Conducting due diligence on current or new professionals with whom you wish to hire or associate can help prevent surprises down the road. Knowing that third party website hosts do not inherently know the status of a professional’s license is important and creating diligence habits can make us all safer when we work with professionals required to be licensed to practice their craft.

Michael V. Favia & Associates assist professionals with analysis and representation on IDFPR matters ranging from professionals new to Illinois and currently licensed Illinois professionals facing potential discipline. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[ii] Website listing, Healthgrades.com: Dr. Gregory M. Bulava, MD (cache link: click here)

[iii] WebMD: OxyContin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse.

Texas doctor convicted in Michael Jackson death sues state over license.

Murray’s California medical license is currently suspended. Since Texas revoked his medical license, Murray fears California might also revoke his currently suspended license based on the Texas revocation.

Murray’s California medical license is currently suspended. Since Texas revoked his medical license, Murray fears California might also revoke his currently suspended license based on the Texas revocation.

Dr. Conrad Murray is the physician convicted in the death of Michael Jackson and after being released from jail this week he wants to resume his medical practice. Murray is a Texas doctor and he is suing the Texas Medical Board for allegedly prematurely revoking his license to practice medicine in Texas. Murray contends that his 2011 California conviction is not final yet because he still has pending appeals and the matter is not final. Murray’s California medical license is currently suspended. Since Texas revoked his medical license, Murray fears California might also revoke his currently suspended license based on the Texas revocation[i].

Should Dr. Murray be allowed to continue practicing medicine in Texas when his conviction is from California? His attorney thinks so.

“”Anybody who wants to work in this country ought to be able to have the right to do so. Dr. Murray is like everyone else, in that he needs to be able to do his line of work,” said Charles Peckham, Murray’s attorney.[ii]” Court papers filed by Murray state, “The Texas Medical Board, in taking my license puts me in imminent harm of irreparable injury.[iii]

It used to be the case that various states endorsed medical licenses from other states and reciprocity of a medical license from state to state is no longer common[iv]. Risks to the public associated with medical license reciprocity prompted a change in policy. Under a reciprocal license model, an unqualified or unlawful physician could move from state to state if they obtained licenses in other states based on a current home state medical license. Conversely, nowadays, state boards of medicine cooperate with and give a level of credit to one another’s actions including discipline. Evidence of discipline in one state can trigger discipline in another. If Dr. Murray is a treat to the people of Texas, likely California may consider whether a similar threat to the people of California warrants revocation of Murray’s medical license.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can refuse to renew, suspend and revoke an Illinois professional license based on discipline in another state.

In Illinois, medical and other professionals who are disciplined in other states are often refused license renewals in Illinois[v]. For example, a Mount Prospect physician and surgeon’s Illinois license is placed in a refuse to renew status after the doctor was disciplined by the State of Alabama. In another example, a Pompano Beach, Florida physician and surgeon’s Illinois licensed was indefinitely suspended due to disciplinary action in Florida and Ohio. Refusals to renew and indefinite suspension decisions made by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can be challenged through hearings before the state.

State professional regulation departments take adverse action in not renewing, suspending and revoking licenses for a variety of reasons in addition to discipline in another state. A license can be affected by failure to comply with annual license renewal requirements including the payment of fees. Violations of probation, failure to pay child support and student loans can also cause license problems. Attorney Michael V. Favia, principal lawyer for Illinois Professional Licensing Consultants has decades of experience working in professional licensing law.

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[ii] See Washington Post article herein.

[iii] See Washington Post article herein.

[iv] MedPro Central: Reciprocity and Endorsement of a State Medical License. By Jana Sheckler, Jun. 10, 2009.

[v] Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation: September 2013 disciplinary orders.

15-year sentence for client fraud: Former N.J. broker stole $9.8M from clients

IDFPR: "Unfortunately, some unscrupulous promoters abuse our freedom to choose by concocting investment schemes that have zero possibility of making money for anyone other than themselves. Such persons promise investment rewards they cannot possibly deliver and have no intention of delivering."

IDFPR: “Unfortunately, some unscrupulous promoters abuse our freedom to choose by concocting investment schemes that have zero possibility of making money for anyone other than themselves. Such persons promise investment rewards they cannot possibly deliver and have no intention of delivering.”

A lifetime of savings – gone! What would you do if your elderly parent told you their investments and retirement money were wiped out in a Ponzi scheme? Clients of former New Jersey investment broker, Maxwell B. Smith III, likely received a phone call from a parent or friend who fell victim to fraud. The article published in the Financial Advisor publication states that, “Smith operated a Ponzi scheme for 17 years, victimizing a dozen elderly clients through several bank accounts he controlled…[i]

“ I handled a case like this a few years ago.  These types of cases are very depressing for everyone involved.” Attorney Michael V. Favia

Smith’s pitch to clients was an investment in health-care facilities. The money wasn’t invested as promised, rather it was spent on Smith’s personal expenses, “…including yearly trips to Gordes, France, for several weeks each summer, according to the attorney general…” the Financial Advisor article states. Smith was sentenced this June to seven years in federal prison after he pled guilty to charges of mail fraud, a common charge in cases like this.

The New Jersey Bureau of Securities also stepped in and pulled Smith’s license to work in the securities industry in New Jersey, for life.  

Could or should the victims have suspected fraud? It is tough to know whether the person you trust with your investments is going to swindle you. Many finance professionals hang their own shingle later in their career and their appearance and marketing materials often look like what anyone might expect from someone like the defendant in this case. In most financial fraud cases, the investors receive periodic payments, on time, as the fraudulent investor uses new investor money to pay dividends to existing clients, and nobody raises an eyebrow until it is too late and the money is gone.

Like New Jersey, Illinois state agencies investigate suggestions of fraud on a regular basis. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (“IDFPR”) offers tips on investment swindles on their website.[ii] Learn more about the multi-billion dollar business of investment fraud and how the swindlers approach their victims. Read about the techniques used and what should be a red flag that things are too good to be true. You might feel safer investing with well-known investment company but be advised; even a large firm can have bad actors within.

If you suspect fraud, the Law Firm of Michael V. Favia can help!

If you suspect an investment professional is up to no good, you can contact the IDFPR for help. If you want more information about how the IDFPR works and what you can do if you suspect fraud, attorney Michael V. Favia practices professional licensing and regulation law. To learn more about how to do some research before hiring an independent investment advisor please use this website link to contact Michael V. Faiva. For more information on similar matters you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow on Twitter. You may also subscribe to the firm’s monthly newsletter by clicking here.


[ii] Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulations: Investment Swindles – How They Work and How to Avoid Them.

Skokie dentist sued for allegedly dropping dental tool down patient’s throat

When you go to the dentist, you do not likely anticipate that you will swallow a dental tool and later need multiple surgeries to extricate the foreign object. Bernard Bell, a 92-year-old Skokie man, asked his attorney to file a lawsuit against Skokie dentist, Dr. Toni Ellis Wolf, with allegations of medical malpractice, claiming Wolf “dropped a metal instrument down his throat, causing the device to get stuck in his stomach.[i]” The Chicago Sun Times article by Luke Wilusz, also states, “According to the suit, Bell experienced “pain in his throat and esophagus, and sleeplessness, irritability and general discomfort prior to and immediately after removal of the subject dental tool.”

Dental tool allegedly dropped down 92-year-old Bernard Bell's throat.

Dental tool allegedly dropped down 92-year-old Bernard Bell’s throat.

The complaint filed by attorney Raphael Strzelecki of RDS Law Offices in Skokie, alleges two counts of medical malpractice with relief sought against Dr. Wolf in excess of $50,000 for damages suffered by Bell. In the same Sun Times article Strzelecki was quoted, stating, “Nobody walks into a dental office and expects to walk out with a dental tool in their stomach.”

In Illinois, “In an action for medical professional negligence the plaintiff must prove by expert testimony that the defendant physician failed to conform to the applicable standard of care unless the alleged negligence is grossly apparent or is obvious to a layman.[ii]” Professionals are judged by a standard of care (they should use and exercise the same degree of knowledge, skill and ability) that “an ordinary careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances.[iii]

When a lawsuit is filed against a professional for something such as medical malpractice, the State of Illinois can get involved and might conduct its own independent investigation into exactly what happened and whether its own discipline is necessary. Professional licensure issues are addressed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).[iv]

If you are regulated by the IDFPR and need advice on what to do if you learn of an inquiry regarding your practice, do not panic; Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] Chicago Sun Times: August 6, 2013, Luke Wilusz, Lawsuit claims Skokie dentist dropped tool down man’s throat

[ii] Addison v. Whittenberg, 124 Ill.2d 287, 529 N.E.2d 552, 124 Ill.Dec. 571 (1988) (further citations omitted)(Cited in Section 105.00 (Professional Negligence) of the Circuit Court Civil Jury Instructions.

[iii] Northern Trust Co. v. Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hosp., 143 Ill.App.3d 479, 493 N.E.2d 6, 97 Ill.Dec. 524 (1st. Dist. 1986) (further citations omitted)(Cited in Section 105.00 (Professional Negligence) of the Circuit Court Civil Jury Instructions.

30 days in prison 3 months probation and fines for physician who obstructed FBI investigation for false Medicare claims

When state and federal agencies investigate complaints of wrongdoing it is best to hire an attorney and cooperate with authorities under the advice of counsel. 61-year-old physician, Dr. Mahmoud Yassin of the downstate town of Robinson, Illinois could have made better choices when confronted with charges he made false Medicare claims. What Yassin did was alter the patient records sought by FBI agents. We do not know enough of the facts about the investigation of Yassin but it is possible he could have sought the advice of a professional licensing attorney to manage his exposure to liability for Medicare fraud.

Dr. Mahmoud Yassin was sentenced to serve 30 days in prison and three years of probation and fines.

News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad's News Wala publication in India.

News of the conviction and sentencing of Dr. Mahmoud Yassin traveled far and the case received coverage in this newspaper in Hyderabad’s News Wala publication in India.

The FBI Springfield Division published the following press release on July 22, 2013:

“Dr. Mahmoud Yassin, 61, of Robinson, Illinois, was sentenced in federal district court in Benton for obstructing a criminal health care fraud investigator, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Dr. Yassin was sentenced to serve three years of probation, a fine of $10,000, a special assessment of $100, and he was ordered to pay restitution to BCBS of Illinois in the amount of $19,615.17. As a condition of probation, Dr. Yassin must also serve 30 days in prison.

The felony obstruction occurred on March 2, 2012, when a FBI agent, having served a subpoena for patient records on Dr. Yassin, was given a patient progress note that had been altered by the doctor to show an in-office examination previously claimed to an insurance carrier, but which had not taken place.

In a civil settlement with the United States Attorney’s Office regarding false claims to Medicare, Dr. Yassin paid double damages in the amount of $87,348.64. The restitution and civil false claims settlement were based on claims for in person office visits in which the patient either failed to show up for an appointment or only was spoken to by telephone.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.”[i]

What to do if you are the subject of a professional inquiry: (1) Don’t panic; (2) Seek advice of counsel.

Many times the agencies investigating complaints do not make findings of wrongdoing and the professional is free to carry on. Sometimes a professional engages in excusably neglectful conduct and the agency advises the professional not to err in the future. Other times the professional has knowingly and intentionally committed a bad act. In any of these situations, an attorney can help the professional by making an appropriate record of the facts and laws involved in the matter.

In Illinois, many professions are regulated by the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[i] FBI Springfield Division press release dated July 22, 2013: Doctor Sentenced in Health Care Fraud Obstruction Case

Appeals court upheld Illinois refusal to renew license to mortgage broker pursuant to SAFE Act

“This outcome is unquestionably harsh,” the Court agrees, despite affirming the decision to deny the renewal of an Illinois mortgage broker whose past felony conviction blocked his present and future due to provisions of the SAFE Act written to amend minimum requirements for practice.[i] The SAFE Act is a federal law imposing compliance policy on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“Department”). Following the 2006 housing bubble burst, Congress enacted the SAFE Act and its uniform national standards in response to predatory lending and bad practices, generally.

Amendments to the SAFE Act prohibit the issuance or renewal of a mortgage broker license under circumstances including a conviction for fraud, and courts must follow the Act.

Appellate Court: "The 2009 amendment has changed the minimum requirements for practice and Vali Mohammad does not meet the amended requirements."

Appellate Court: “The 2009 amendment has changed the minimum requirements for practice and Vali Mohammad does not meet the amended requirements.”

The purpose of the 2009 enacted SAFE Act is to “impose uniform national standards in order to curb predatory lending practices and [to use] required fingerprinting and issuance of unique, life-time identifiers to prevent unscrupulous mortgage loan originators simply moving from jurisdiction.”[ii] Note that this is Federal law and the Department, overseeing mortgage brokers in Illinois, must follow the licensing standards imposed by the SAFE Act. Effective July 31, 2009, an amendment to the Act imposed on the Department that its licensed mortgage brokers comply with Section 7-3 that prohibits licensing of any applicants with felony convictions for fraud, among other criteria.[iii]

In this case, Mohammad became a mortgage broker in 2001, a new career for him. “By 2006, he had five employees, owned his commercial building and five rental homes, and was the recipient of two awards from the Chicago Association of Realtors and one from the chamber of commerce for the communities of Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, and Vernon Hills, Illinois.[iv] Despite his success as a loan originator and real estate, an unrelated past conviction stopped Mohammad from continuing business as usual when he received a letter from the Department, refusing to renew his license to practice mortgage brokerage in Illinois.

When Mohammad applied to renew is license in 2005 or 2006, according to the Court in Mohammad, he disclosed to the Department that he had a mail fraud conviction from the year 2000. The fraud conviction was the end of a drawn out battle with a previous company and had nothing to do with Mohammad’s career in lending as overseen by the Department who on June 30, 2010, notified him that his license could not be renewed because he did satisfy the requirements for the license pursuant to the SAFE Act as amended.

The trial court and the appellate court considered many arguments and facts concerning Mohammad and his career, but there was no provision in the Act for exceptions, and therefore the strict application of the law caused Mohammad to be ineligible to practice mortgage brokerage in Illinois. The Court, “Unfortunately, the applicable law of the State of Illinois is very clear on this matter. A felony conviction involving fraud or dishonesty is a clear violation of 205 ILCS 635/7-3(2) and a complete bar to holding a loan originator license.”[v]

Mohammad’s counsel made several legal arguments regarding the facts in this case and the application of the laws that affected his license. Michael V. Favia & Associates offers tips on dealing with the IDFPR located on their Illinois Licensing website. From the website, you can also submit your name and email to receive a more detailed article titled, “Summary of the Disciplinary Process and 10 Tips for Responding to an IDFPR Inquiry.”

Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to assist with analysis and advice on a difficult IDFPR matter. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.


[ii] Mohammed at ¶ 11, citing Bryce Gray, The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, 31 Rev. Banking & Fin. L. 51 (2011) (discussing the circumstances that led to passage of the SAFE Act and explaining the law’s components).

[iii] Mohammed at ¶ 6.

[iv] Mohammed at ¶ 4.

[v] Mohammed at ¶ 8