Sunday, December 16, 2012

Florida Supremes Spank Four Lawyers For Playing Fast & Loose With Clients' Trust Account Cash; Belt Another For Actions Related To Loan Modification/Foreclosure Litigation Cases

The Florida Bar News reports that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined the following five attorneys for allegedly either playing fast and loose with their clients' trust account money, or for conduct in connection with loan modification/foreclosure litigation cases:

  • Delaila Jannette Estefano, 3850 Bird Road, Suite 901, Miami, suspended for 90 days, effective retroactive to March 9, 2009, following an October 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) From January 2007 through September 2008, due to a lack of timely deposits, there were some instances in which Estefano’s trust account had insufficient funds. Estefano also failed to maintain proper trust account records, and she failed to follow proper trust accounting procedures. (Case No. SC12-1676);
  • Howard Joseph Milchman, 9900 W. Sample Road, Suite 300, Coral Springs, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an October 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Milchman appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating trust funds or property. In one matter, Milchman used the estate of one client as a source of funds to make a restitution disbursement of more than $45,000 to another client, similar to a Ponzi scheme. In multiple instances, he has not applied funds entrusted to him for specific purposes. (Case No. SC12-2106);
  • Clarence Edward Porch, Jr., 2674 S.E. Willoughby Blvd., Stuart, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from an October 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1969) For three months, Porch accepted clients from a nonlawyer company that he knew was not an approved lawyer referral service. Porch failed to supervise nonlawyer employees and failed to review any work they did regarding loan modification and foreclosure litigation cases. Porch also purchased leads of prospective clients’ names and paid an employee to call those prospective clients. (Case No. SC12-1674);
  • Gene Stuart Rosen, 1550 N.E. Miami Gardens Drive, North Miami Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an October 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Rosen appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating and/or diverting funds entrusted to him and by breaching his fiduciary duties with respect to the handling of those funds held in trust. (Case No. SC12-2003);
  • Kelly Earlise Speer, P.O. Box 172067, Tampa, suspended until further order effective immediately, following an October 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Speer was held in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a December 14, 2011, court order. Speer was ordered to respond to The Florida Bar regarding a trust account overdraft inquiry of September 8, 2011. (Case No. SC11-1866).
Source: The Florida Bar News: Disciplinary Actions (December 15, 2012).

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