Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Florida Bar Boots 13, Suspends 11 Others Among 27 Attorneys Disciplined For Conduct Unbecoming An Officer Of The Court

The latest issue of The Florida Bar's quarterly gossip sheet is out, listing attorneys licensed in the state who have been recently disciplined for ripping off client cash, playing fast and loose with escrow/trust funds, and otherwise engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer of the court. Some examples:
  • During the course of representing a client in a foreclosure matter, one attorney created fraudulent letters and lied under oath;

  • Another attorney represented a company in a foreclosure sale and received $308,000 to be held in trust for use at the sale. When the funds were not needed for the foreclosure, he pocketed the cash for his own purposes, without the permission of the client. He subsequently failed and refused to return the funds to the client;

  • A third attorney formed a real estate law group and entered into an agreement with a non-lawyer. Under the terms of the agreement, she became responsible for approximately 600 client files (believed to be primarily foreclosure rescue, loan modification, or similar cases). When the business relationship was severed, she abandoned all legal representation and she failed to notify the clients and the courts of her termination of services. She also failed to refund clients fees;

  • A fourth attorney received $80,000 from clients to be used for a loan transaction. The intended borrower subsequently died and the attorney simply kept the cash for his own benefit without the clients' permission.

No word yet on any run on The Florida Bar's Clients' Security Fund.(1)

For the rest of this quarter's reported escapades, and the form of discipline meted out to these scheming solicitors, see Florida Supreme Court Disciplines 27 Attorneys.

(1) The Florida Bar's Clients' Security Fund compensates people who have been victims of of misappropriation or embezzlement of cash or property by a Florida-licensed attorney. For those ripped off by dishonest attorneys in other states and Canada, see:

Maps available courtesy of The National Client Protection Organization, Inc.