In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Melinda Alfredson, Attorney at Law:
Melinda Alfredson, Respondent. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant,
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.
review the report of the referee, Attorney John Nicholas
Schweitzer, recommending that the court suspend the Wisconsin
law license of Attorney Melinda Alfredson for 90 days and
order her to pay the full costs of this disciplinary
proceeding. The referee wrote the report after Attorney
Alfredson and the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) entered
into a stipulation concerning Attorney Alfredson's
misconduct in two client matters and her failure to cooperate
with the OLR's investigation into her misconduct. Neither
party has appealed from the referee's report and
recommendation, and thus our review proceeds under Supreme
Court Rule (SCR) 22.17(2), 
We agree that Attorney Alfredson's professional
misconduct warrants a 90-day suspension. We further agree
that Attorney Alfredson should pay the full costs of this
matter, which total $2, 649.59 as of November 15, 2018. No
restitution was sought and none is ordered.
Attorney Alfredson obtained her Wisconsin law license in
2009. In 2017, this court suspended her law license for 60
days based on 16 counts of misconduct arising out of her
representation of two clients, her various trust account
violations, and her failure to cooperate with the OLR's
investigation into her misconduct. See In re Disciplinary
Proceedings Against Alfredson, 2017 WI 6, 373 Wis.2d 79,
890 N.W.2d 13 ("Alfredson I").
In March 2018, the OLR filed the underlying complaint against
Attorney Alfredson. The OLR alleged that Attorney Alfredson
had engaged in six counts of misconduct based on her work for
clients R.R. and M.T., as well as her failure to cooperate
with the OLR's investigation into her misconduct. The OLR
sought a four-month suspension of Attorney Alfredson's
In mid-October 2018, following the filing of an answer and
the appointment of the referee, the parties executed a
stipulation in which Attorney Alfredson withdrew her answer
and stipulated to the factual allegations and misconduct
charges of the complaint, as amended in the stipulation. Both
the OLR and Attorney Alfredson agreed that a 90-day
suspension was appropriate. The parties further agreed that
the stipulation was not the result of plea bargaining; that
Attorney Alfredson's entry into the stipulation was
knowing and voluntary; and that she understood the misconduct
allegations as amended by the stipulation, her right to
contest those allegations, and the ramifications of her entry
into the stipulation.
In late October 2018, the referee filed his report and
recommendation. The referee accepted the parties'
stipulation and found, based on the stipulation, that the
following facts were true.
of R.R. (Counts 1-4)
In February 2015, R.R. and his wife divorced. R.R. was
represented by counsel other than Attorney Alfredson at the
In approximately September 2015, R.R. hired Attorney
Alfredson to represent him after he had fallen behind on
certain post-divorce obligations. R.R. owed his ex-wife
past-due maintenance and attorney's fees. In addition,
R.R. had not yet attempted to sell a boat that he and his
ex-wife had owned during their marriage, even though the
divorce judgment required that the boat be placed on the
market for sale.
In mid-October 2015, a family court commissioner found R.R.
in contempt and imposed a $2, 405.95 purge condition.
On October 20, 2015, R.R. informed Attorney Alfredson that he
had sold the boat for $7, 500. Attorney Alfredson and R.R.
agreed that the proceeds from the sale would be deposited
into Attorney Alfredson's trust account; that the
proceeds would be used to pay the $2, 405.95 purge amount;
and that the remainder of the proceeds ($5, 094.05) would be
held in trust pending documentation of receipts for storage
and the bank payoff for the boat, for which R.R.'s
ex-wife was partially responsible.
Attorney Alfredson never deposited the boat sale proceeds
into a trust account. Rather, on October 22, 2015, she
deposited the check that R.R. had received for the boat in a
non-trust account held by the law firm where she worked at
the time. Attorney Alfredson subsequently transferred a
portion of the funds to a second non-trust account held by
the firm, and transferred another portion of the funds to a
third non-trust account held by the firm.
In November 2015, Attorney Alfredson provided R.R.'s
ex-wife's lawyer with a check, drawn from one of these
non-trust accounts, for the $2, 405.95 purge amount. Attorney
Alfredson also used some of R.R.'s funds for her own
In April 2016, R.R. terminated Attorney Alfredson and
retained a new lawyer. In a May 9, 2016 letter to R.R.,
Attorney Alfredson agreed to forward the remaining proceeds
from the boat sale to R.R.'s new lawyer. Later in May
2016, Attorney Alfredson provided the OLR with a carbon copy
of a purported check that she allegedly wrote to R.R.'s
new lawyer in the amount of the boat sale proceeds left after
the $2, 405.95 purge payment; i.e., $5, 094.05.
In early June 2016, the circuit court ordered that $5, 000 of
the proceeds from the boat sale were to be paid to R.R.'s
ex-wife's lawyer within ten business days. In mid-June
2016, R.R.'s ex-wife's lawyer wrote R.R.'s new
lawyer, inquiring about the status of the $5, 000 payment and
stating that "Attorney Alfredson advises that she sent
the monies from her trust to you." Attorney Alfredson
was copied on this letter. In response, R.R.'s new lawyer
wrote Attorney Alfredson to say that she had not received any
trust funds from Attorney Alfredson. Almost four months after
receiving this letter, in October 2016, Attorney Alfredson
delivered a $5, 094.95 check made payable to R.R.'s
ex-wife's lawyer. The check was drawn from a non-trust
In April 2016, R.R. filed a grievance with the OLR against
Attorney Alfredson. In mid-July 2016, the OLR notified
Attorney Alfredson of the investigation of R.R.'s
grievance and requested certain information and records from
her. She did not respond.
In August 2016, the OLR sent Attorney Alfredson a second
request for information and records via certified mail.
Although Attorney Alfredson signed the ...