Sunday, November 25, 2001

BALTIMORE (AP) A legal ethics board has disbarred one of Maryland’s assistant attorneys general for tax evasion.
The Attorney Grievance Commission could have suspended Anthony Waters but instead chose the stiffest penalty, disbarment. In its final order, the commission said Mr. Waters’ name should be “stricken from the rolls of those authorized to practice law in this state.”
His disbarment is the result of his not paying state and federal income taxes for years. He failed to file state income tax returns from 1990 to 1996 and did not file federal income and withholding returns from 1990 to 1997.
Mr. Waters had no comment on the board’s decision. During commission hearings earlier this year, Mr. Waters had said his tax evasion did not show a character flaw. Instead, he argued, it was “indicative of the nature of small business and small-business practice.”
Baltimore City Judge Stuart Berger, who heard Mr. Waters’ tax-evasion case, said he “purposely exhibited no intention to fulfill his duties of filing the required tax forms until the comptroller and the IRS discovered the delinquency and made attempts to collect back taxes.”
Most recently the assistant attorney general representing the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Mr. Waters was in private practice during the tax evasion. Maryland has garnisheed his wages to pay a portion of his tax bill. The state eliminated his tax liability for 1990 to 1995.
Mr. Waters’ disbarment is the last in a series of ethical problems he has faced. The commission has reprimanded him twice for misconduct, including one case in which he failed to finish legal work for which he had received a $500 retainer fee.
Mr. Waters also had other legal problems in recent years. In 1996, the year before he became assistant attorney general, he was charged with arson and burning with intent to defraud. Investigators said someone used gasoline to start a fire in Mr. Waters’ Cedarcroft home in July 1996. He later was acquitted.

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