A Denver lawyer was disbarred last month, just three years into his legal career.
Jason Haubenreiser, 35, admitted to forging a business contract and trying to pass that forgery off in court. He was charged with three felonies as a result and pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant — a Denver judge — by means of deceit.
Documents obtained through records requests from three courts show how a paltry dispute over money in west Denver snowballed into an attorney’s career-ending crime.
Haubenreiser owns an ATM operating company called Cultivating Cents. In 2020, he agreed to install an ATM inside 303 Barber Shop, at 1446 Sheridan Blvd., in exchange for 40 percent of profits from the ATM’s surcharges. The barbershop would keep the other 60 percent.
When the barbershop was sold in February 2022, Haubenreiser asked the new owners if they would like to assume the contract between his company and 303 Barber Shop. He then handed them a forged contract giving Cultivating Cents a 90-percent cut of the ATM’s profits.
The new owners declined to sign that contract, so Haubenreiser sued 303 Barber Shop in Denver County Small Claims Court for $7,500. He accused the barbershop of breaching their contract by not convincing the new owners to assume that contract.
When the case went to a one-day trial last August, 303 Barber Shop alleged that the contract in question — the one giving Haubenreiser a 90-percent share of profits — was a forgery. So, the notary whose name and signature were on it, Andrew Scott, was called to testify.
Scott said under oath that he didn’t meet Haubenreiser for the first time until early 2022 — 18 months after he supposedly notarized that contract between Haubenreiser and the barbershop — when Haubenreiser hired him to notarize a document in an unrelated case.
Scott testified that Haubenreiser must have copied Scott’s notary stamp and signature from that document, changed the date by turning a 2 into an 8 and another 2 into a 0, and pasted them onto the forged contract. Scott stressed that he never notarized the contract.
Haubenreiser responded by accusing Scott of colluding with 303 Barber Shop and lying. But Magistrate Judge Todd Mackintosh found those claims dubious, since the shop had filed a complaint against Scott with the Secretary of State’s Office after initially believing he had committed the forgery. And Efrain Feliciano, who owns 303, had never met Scott.
“Even if Mr. Haubenreiser were to argue he did not cut and paste the notary block, which Mr. Haubenreiser alluded to without any supporting facts…he had to at the very least know that no meeting was ever held to execute the (contract) in the presence of Scott,” Mackintosh wrote last September, calling Haubenreiser’s claims to the contrary “simply nonsensical.”
The judge ruled that it was Haubenreiser who had breached a contract between himself and 303 Barber Shop — their initial, actual ATM contract — by not paying the shop its 60-percent share of the profits. So, he ordered Haubenreiser to give $481 to 303 Barber Shop.
Three weeks later, Haubenreiser was charged with forgery, offering a false instrument for recording and attempting to influence a public servant. He pleaded guilty to the latter in December, was fined $1,600 and told to complete 75 hours of community service.
Then came the disciplinary case. The Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation, which prosecutes unethical attorneys, recommended in March that Haubenreiser be disbarred.
“If his attempts to influence the court had succeeded, (Haubenreiser) may have been financially rewarded in the civil case,” the state office wrote. “…The court was required to spend time and resources during and after the trial to address his misconduct. Through his conviction, (Haubenreiser) also caused harm to the reputation of the legal profession.”
Haubenreiser agreed to the punishment, so a disciplinary judge disbarred him July 21.
Haubenreiser and his attorneys, John Gleason Sr. and Jane Cox with the firm Burns Figa & Will in Greenwood Village, did not respond to several requests for comment.
Haubenreiser graduated from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in late 2017 but failed the bar exam the following February and again in July 2018, according to testimony he gave to a state board. Haubenreiser complained that a leaky air conditioner dripped on his notes during the July test and asked that he be allowed to practice law. He was not.
“He said that not being admitted has taken a tremendous financial toll on him…and more should be done for law school graduates who do not pass the bar,” the board’s meeting minutes state.
Haubenreiser became a licensed attorney in New Mexico in summer 2019 and then passed the Colorado bar in summer 2020, state records show.
While in college, Haubenreiser wrote one paper that was published in the Denver Law Review. It is about how companies can handle business proposals that violate the law.