SLO attorney disbarred following bank fraud conviction

The California State Bar has stripped a San Luis Obispo attorney of his law license following a bank fraud conviction and the lawyer’s alleged failure to comply with the terms of his legal probation.

In 2017, FBI agents arrested Stephen Ronca on 28 counts of wire fraud, which included allegations he stole approximately $250,000 from a client’s trust account to spend in casinos. Ronca transferred money from a client’s living trust into his own account. He also withdrew some of the money while at casinos in Las Vegas, South Lake Tahoe and Santa Ynez, according to a federal indictment. 

Additionally, Ronca used property held in the trust as collateral for a loan. To pay off the loan, Ronca then sold the property located on Poinsettia Street in San Luis Obispo.

In late 2014 and early 2015, Ronca “executed a scheme to defraud a financial institution” that was attempting to foreclose on a San Luis Obispo property he owned, according to a plea agreement he reached with prosecutors. Ronca submitted a loan modification application in which he falsely claimed he was renting out the property for $4,500 per month. To support his false claim, Ronca fabricated a lease agreement in the name of a former client.

Ronca also fabricated two receipts that included forged signatures. Based on the “fraudulent documents,” the mortgage company granted the loan modification application and stopped foreclosure proceedings, according to the plea agreement. 

As part of the plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed to drop 27 charges if Ronca pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Ronca pleaded guilty and was convicted of a single count of bank fraud in June 2018.

The state Bar suspended Ronca’s license and placed him on disciplinary probation. Ronca then failed to participate in disciplinary proceedings, including ethics and client trust accounting courses, according to a Sate Bar ruling.

Ronca was formally disbarred on Aug. 9.

The San Luis Obispo attorney faced up to 30 years behind bars but was sentenced to just 90 days in prison. A federal magistrate also ordered Ronca to pay at least $483,000 in restitution. 

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One Comment about “SLO attorney disbarred following bank fraud conviction”

  1. Gerald KL says:

    I believe he is the brother of local Attorney John Ronca, they use to play Golf at the SLO Country Club with several current and former Judges and lawyers. I wonder if their is more to this matter ?

    Retired Judge LaBarbera the father of Lisa Toke has been holding “Parties at her Mansion” with Husband Mike Toke a Russian Cornell graduate with ties to the Oligarchs . Mike Toke never did like his father in law Judge Barry LaBarbera now retired but back on the bench ?

    What i find suspicious is why would a Retired Judge play golf with lawyers like Don Ernst whom he has cases before ? CJP needs to see what is going on ? Conflict of interest, quid quo pro ?

    Why does Judge Tana Coates go to Lisa Toke’s home with others in some secret meetings ? also with local disgraced Commissioner Erin Childs ? who wants to run for Judge next year and un-seat a sitting Judge. Heard at the Club recently that several lawyers are being groomed to the run against several judges.

    Christine Detrick, SLO City Attorney, Deputy DA Sheryl Wolcot, Commissioner Erin Child’s, Lisa Toke daughter of Judge LaBarbara ? Some thing is going on at the Toke Home in Edna Valley behind closed Gates ? Why would the Ronca’s seek a favor ?

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