As a licensed professional, you're held to high standards by your community. As a result, your professional licensing board regulates and oversees your professional and, in some cases, your personal conduct. That means sometimes an arrest or misunderstanding in your personal life can also affect your professional licensing and career. If someone makes a formal complaint against you, the licensing board overseeing your profession can investigate and hold a hearing. But the board isn't held to the same stringent procedural standards as a criminal court and uses a lower standard of proof. That's why you need attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced Licensing Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. They are well-versed in defending licensed professionals and can protect your rights, your professional reputation, and your career. No matter where you live, attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help.
Accountants and Certified Public Accountants
We trust accountants with sensitive financial information, relying on their advice to make long and short-term financial plans in our personal lives and businesses. That's why the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) established a code of conduct followed by most CPA licensing boards nationwide. The AICPA Code establishes ethical rules and professional behavior guidelines for CPAs to protect clients from unethical or unprofessional behavior from accountants. You could face disciplinary action from your licensing board for:
- Dishonest or fraudulent accounting,
- Mishandling client finances or financial information,
- Criminal convictions, particularly those involving finances or dishonest behavior such as theft, embezzlement, or fraud, and
- Unethical behavior, such as professional conflicts of interest.
Architects are responsible for creating innovative and functional designs and often oversee the entire design-build process for homes and commercial buildings. As a result, architects are also subject to a code of ethics and professional responsibility, including a highly regulated licensing and disciplinary process in each state. You could face an investigation or disciplinary proceeding with your state's architectural licensing board if you engage in:
- Gross negligence or incompetence, such as violating building codes, ignoring safety standards, or mishandling building projects,
- Fraud or dishonest business practices such as falsifying records, mishandling money, or cheating on an exam,
- Reckless endangerment, such as designing a building that isn't structurally sound,
- Criminal behavior such as an arrest for DWI, fraud, domestic violence, or assault, particularly for crimes that involve ethical violations or moral turpitude, and
- Substance or alcohol abuse.
Insurance agents protect our communities from financial catastrophe. People turn to their agents during some of the most traumatic times in their lives, after losing a home or business, a horrible accident, or losing a loved one. As a result, agents must treat their clients ethically and responsibly. Each state in the country maintains a licensing board that oversees real estate agents' education, licensing, and regulation to ensure that clients receive the best possible guidance and service. If you violate the standards set by your state licensing board, you could face suspension or loss of your real estate license. Some of the most common actions that can lead to a board investigation or disciplinary action include:
- Fraud, such as taking client money, unlawfully denying coverage, or denying payments,
- Intentionally misrepresenting what a policy covers,
- Gross negligence, including omitting needed information from a policy or failing to recommend a policy that meets a client's needs,
- Unethical behavior such as misleading clients, violating confidentiality, or acting beyond the scope of your license, and
- Criminal convictions, particularly those related to fraud or crimes of moral turpitude.
Professional engineers keep us safe, ensuring that our infrastructure, highways, buildings, homes, cars, planes, and so much more comply with safety standards and operate effectively. Whether you're involved in research, design, development, construction, production, operation, or management, many things can't be built without your seal of approval. As a result, each state maintains stringent ethical and professional standards for professional engineers. Violating those standards can lead to disciplinary action and even the loss of your PE license. Some of the most common violations that can lead to an investigation or disciplinary process for professional engineers include:
- Fraud, such as fabricating or falsifying safety or test data,
- Gross negligence or malpractice, including egregious or repeated code and safety violations,
- Working outside the scope of your PE license,
- Alcohol or substance abuse, and
- Criminal charges or convictions, including crimes of moral turpitude.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
Substance abuse counselors are professionals who hold a position of trust in the community. Because they hear intimate and extremely personal and private information from their clients, we hold these counselors to the highest professional and personal standards. Each state maintains a licensing board that regulates and oversees counselors, including substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, ensuring they maintain these ethical ideals. Some common violations that could result in a board investigation or disciplinary action include:
- Substance or alcohol abuse,
- Sexual misconduct involving clients, employees, or colleagues,
- Fraud, including insurance fraud, Medicaid or Medicare fraud, or over-billing of patients, and
- Inappropriate relationships with clients, including romantic relationships.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents also command a great deal of trust in our communities. We trust them to handle large sums of money, keeping them in trust for buyers and sellers, and we also rely on them to negotiate complex business and personal real estate contracts. For many people, the money they spend on a home or commercial real estate will be the largest single investment they ever make. As a result, we hold realtors to high standards, with the state board ensuring that they comply with strict ethical and professional criteria.
Some of the most common violations that can result in a licensing board investigation or disciplinary action include:
- Fraud, including the mishandling of deposits and escrow accounts,
- Financial misconduct, such as inflating commissions, overvaluing property, or improper bookkeeping,
- Bribery, including accepting money or gifts to influence the outcome of a real estate transaction,
- Misrepresentation, including failing to provide key contractual information or failing to make required legal disclosures,
- Criminal arrests or convictions, particularly those involving finances, fraud, or a felony offense.
Social workers spend years in training and education to support people in their communities. They may provide individual, family, or group counseling, help people in our communities receive the services and help they need, or assist those in crises. Because social workers help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, they must comply with strict ethical and professional regulations. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) has uniform standards of conduct for social workers that many states have adopted in state regulations. State licensing boards help ensure that social workers comply with these regulations. Some of the most common violations that can result in board disciplinary action for social workers include:
- Fraud, including financial misconduct, overbilling, and fraudulent billing to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies,
- Misconduct with a client, including sexual misconduct, violent, abusive, or aggressive behavior, or inappropriate relationships with a client,
- Violating practice guidelines repeatedly, or
- Substance or alcohol abuse.
You Need Attorney Joseph D. Lento
If you are a service professional facing a challenge to your professional license in your state, you shouldn't try to handle it alone. Licensing board investigations and disciplinary actions can seriously impact your professional reputation and career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced Professional Licensing Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you through licensing board investigations, hearings, and appeals. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or contact them online to schedule your consultation. They can help professionals across the country.