In the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Beth M. Bant, Attorney at Law:
Beth M. Bant, Respondent-Appellant. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant-Respondent,
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BANT
disciplinary proceeding. Attorney's license suspended.
the respondent-appellant, there were briefs filed by Peyton
Engel and Hurley Burish, S.C., Madison.
the complainant-respondent, there was a brief filed by Kim M.
Kluck and Office of Lawyer Regulation.
Attorney Beth M. Bant appeals the report of Robert E. Kinney,
referee, recommending that this court suspend her Wisconsin
law license for six months, impose the full costs of this
proceeding, and order her to undergo a psychological
evaluation for consideration at any future reinstatement
proceeding. The referee determined that Attorney Bant
committed the two counts of misconduct that the Office of
Lawyer Regulation (OLR) complaint alleged and to which she
eventually stipulated: engaging in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation
of Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 20:8.4(c),  and violating a
standard of conduct set forth in one of this court's
decisions, in violation of SCR 20:8.4(f).
After fully reviewing this matter, we reject all but one of
Attorney Bant's arguments on appeal. We accept the
referee's findings of fact (with one minor exception,
noted below), and we agree that those facts establish that
Attorney Bant committed the two misconduct counts brought by
the OLR. We further agree with the referee that those
violations require the imposition of a six-month suspension.
We also determine that Attorney Bant should be required to
pay the full costs of this proceeding, which total $10,
177.91 as of July 11, 2019. We do not, however, accept the
referee's recommendation that Attorney Bant undergo a
psychological evaluation at this time.
Attorney Bant was licensed to practice law in Wisconsin in
2013. She has no disciplinary history.
On March 22, 2018, the OLR filed a complaint alleging two
counts of misconduct arising out of Attorney Bant's work
as an in-house lawyer for an insurance company headquartered
in Wisconsin. Attorney Bant filed an answer in which she
admitted some of the OLR's factual allegations, but
denied that she engaged in professional misconduct. In July
2018, the parties entered into a stipulation in which
Attorney Bant admitted certain facts, as well as the two
counts of misconduct alleged in the OLR's complaint. In
December 2018, Attorney Bant filed an amended answer that was
consistent with the parties' stipulation. The referee
then held a hearing at which he confirmed Attorney Bant's
admissions of misconduct and took evidence to facilitate his
recommendation as to the appropriate sanction.
The referee filed his report on March 21, 2019. Attorney Bant
timely appealed from the referee's report. The
referee's report and the exhibits received at the
evidentiary hearing may be summarized as follows.
From February 2014 through December 2016, Attorney Bant
worked as an in-house lawyer for an insurance company
headquartered in Wisconsin.
In October 2016, Attorney Bant and her supervisor agreed that
Attorney Bant would attend an American Bar Association
seminar in New Orleans, Louisiana. On October 31, 2016,
Attorney Bant submitted a request for reimbursement of the
$1, 115 fee listed on a fabricated seminar registration
receipt that Attorney Bant had created using computer editing
software. The fabricated receipt listed the dates of the
seminar as December 8 and 9, 2016, even though the seminar
was actually scheduled to take place on November 3 and 4,
2016. Attorney Bant's employer paid her the requested sum
of $1, 115 for the seminar fee.
Attorney Bant told her employer that she would fly to New
Orleans for the seminar on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, and
would attend the seminar on December 8 and 9, 2016. But
Attorney Bant did not go to New Orleans on those dates; as
mentioned above, the seminar had occurred over a month
earlier. A coworker spotted Attorney Bant in town on the
morning of Friday, December 9, 2016.
Sometime in December 2016, Attorney Bant had uploaded, but
had not yet formally submitted for reimbursement, the
following fabricated travel receipts into her employer's
• A receipt for the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans
for the nights of December 7, 8, and 9, 2016, in the amount
of $1, 562.92. Attorney Bant fabricated this receipt by using
computer editing software to modify a prior receipt from a
different hotel. Attorney Bant's modifications included
copying the Windsor Court Hotel logo from their website ...