James Reiss facing 11 felony counts of grand theft and forgery
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/28/2013 01:26:54 PM PDT
Updated: 06/28/2013 07:36:55 PM PDT

A disbarred criminal defense attorney who represented former Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Rex Gutierrez in his two public corruption trials has been arrested in connection with the theft of funds from former clients.

James Vincent Reiss, 51, of Upland, was arrested shortly before noon on June 20 by Los Angeles County district attorney investigators and booked into the Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in San Dimas, where he is being held in lieu of $3.7 million bail.

Reiss, who was disbarred on March 16 after a state Bar Court judge called his case an illustration of the “disciplinary consequences of dishonesty,” pleaded not guilty Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court to four felony counts of grand theft of personal property and seven felony counts of forgery. He will next appear in court on July 11 for a pretrial hearing, according to court records.

Baker Ostrin, the Los Angeles County deputy public defender who represented Reiss during Monday’s arraignment, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The state Bar Court recommended in 2012 that Reiss be disbarred after he was accused of 16 acts of misconduct involving five clients between 2001 and 2010. A hearing judge found that Reiss:

  • Took client money under false pretenses
  • Lied to the court and his clients about the status of cases

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