Florida Supreme Court recently sanctioned 15 lawyers
Florida Bar Department of Lawyer Regulation spokesperson Leslie H. Smith informed local Historic City News reporters that the Florida Supreme Court recently sanctioned 15 attorneys, striking off five, revoking the licenses of two, suspending six and berating three. Two lawyers were ordered to pay restitution.
Lawyers suspended for periods of 91 days or more must go through a rigorous process to recover their legal licenses, including proof of rehabilitation. Disciplinary dismissal is equivalent to striking off.
Gerald W. Adams, 1314 E. Las Olas Blvd, Suite 1059, Fort Lauderdale, struck off immediately after court order of April 28. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Adams continued to practice law in defiance of the Supreme Court’s stay order by continuing to run his law firm. In an attempt to bend the rules, Adams transferred ownership of the firm to his office manager (a non-lawyer) without the office manager’s knowledge. Adams has continued to advertise his online legal services under the guise of preparing documents offering to prepare legal documents / forms not approved by the Florida Supreme Court for use by non-lawyers, which constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. (Case no: SC20-1810)
Damien Aranguren, 725 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 1, Ocala, suspended from 30 days following a March 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Aranguren pleaded for the non-contesting of three counts of grand theft (statutory theft), a third degree felony, a count of intrusion to the structure, a misdemeanor second degree and one count of Trespassing in Occupied Structure or Conveyance, a first degree misdemeanor. The court declined to rule on all charges and sentenced Aranguren to two years probation suspended on the charges and credit for time served on the misdemeanor counts. (Case no: SC21-468)
John Lance Armstrong, 515 N. Flagler Drive, Suite P300, West Palm Beach, public reprimand and payment of $ 5,000 restitution with attendance at Florida Bar’s Ethics School effective immediately following an April 1 court order. (Admitted to Practice: 1979) Armstrong accepted a fee of $ 5,000 and undertook to represent a client in a civil matter and, after filing the complaint, took little or no significant action in the case. The case was ultimately closed for lack of prosecution. (Case no: SC21-390)
Francine Blair Bogumil, 8950 Della Scala Cir., Orlando, suspended from 30 days following a court order of February 3 and following a court order of March 31. An arbitrator has been ordered to recommend discipline. (Admitted to practice: 2006) On January 26, Bogumil pleaded nolo to contend with three crimes and four misdemeanors. On March 25, Bogumil pleaded nolo to contend with three counts of battery against a law enforcement officer, crimes in the third degree. (Case nos: SC21-150 and SC21-481)
Chris R. Borgia, 4000 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Suite 470, Coral Gables, suspended for 18 months from 30 days following an April 8 court order. (Accepted in Practice: 2002) Borgia has overlooked four different clients in its representation for social security benefits. Borgia failed to communicate with clients, failed to appear at hearings or appeared unprepared, often failed to waive fees and withdraw from Social Security administration after being terminated by clients, did not promptly return unused fee deposits to clients, and did not keep such fee funds in his trust account. (Case no: SC20-1295)
John Daneil Ellis, Jr., PO Box 1161, Orlando, struck off immediately after an April 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Although Ellis was suspended from practicing law, he agreed to provide legal assistance to someone who lived out of state and needed a lawyer. Ellis agreed to prepare and file the necessary documents to allow the individual to probate his deceased mother’s estate. Although Ellis told this individual that he was not practicing law at the time, Ellis did not disclose that he was suspended from practicing law due to misconduct and did not was not authorized to provide him with legal services or advice. Ellis prepared the documents, sent them to the individual for signature, and explained how and where to send the documents for filing. (Case no: SC19-384)
Diego Handel, 149 South Ridgewood Ave., Suite 220, Daytona Beach, struck off and found in contempt effective immediately after an April 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Handel continued to practice law after being struck off by order of the Florida Supreme Court dated May 30, 2019 (Case No: SC21-170)
Aaron Patrick Honaker, 33 NE 4th St., Miami, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years from April 19 following an April 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008). Honaker has been charged with three counts of attempted bank robbery and two counts of bank robbery. (Case no: SC21-116)
Colleen E. Huott, 2385 NW Executive Center Dr., Suite 100, Boca Raton, suspended 30 days after court order of April 19. (Admitted to Practice: 2005) In eight separate Law Society cases, Huott failed to show just cause for his failure to respond to several official Law Society inquiries. (Case no: SC21-96)
Stephen Michael Jones, 390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300, Orlando, struck off immediately after an April 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) On November 9, 2020, Jones was urgently suspended by the Florida Supreme Court for embezzlement of trust funds and for abandoning his practice of law. Jones subsequently failed to respond to the Law Society’s request for an emergency stay and did not appear at the sanction hearing. An emergency stay request is granted by the Florida Supreme Court when the Florida Bar presents clear and convincing evidence that a lawyer appears to be causing great harm to the public (see Rule 3-5.2 (a)) and constitutes also a formal complaint so that the case is fully investigated and final disciplinary action is ordered. (Case no: SC20-1593)
Megan Olivia Kifer, 110 Front Street, Suite 300, Jupiter, written off and payment of restitution takes effect immediately after a court order of April 1. Kifer was urgently suspended by the Florida Supreme Court on October 28, 2020, with the suspension imposed taking effect within 30 days of that order. (Admitted to Practice: 2016) Kifer was hired to help pay for expenses on behalf of a Special Needs Trust recipient and other duties. Instead, Kifer embezzled $ 8,194.53. Kifer also misled the Law Society during their investigation and otherwise refused to cooperate. Kifer had previously been suspended on an emergency basis by the Florida Supreme Court. An emergency stay request is granted by the Florida Supreme Court when the Florida Bar presents clear and convincing evidence that a lawyer appears to be causing great harm to the public (see Rule 3-5.2 (a)) and constitutes also a formal complaint so that the matter is fully investigated and final disciplinary action is ordered. (Case no: SC20-1354)
Jeremiah J. Talbott, 900 E. Moreno Street, Pensacola, suspended for 60 days and ordered to attend Professionalism Workshop and Ethics School effective 30 days after court order of April 15. (Admitted to Practice: 1998) Talbott was hired to represent a client in a federal matter under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In an order dismissing Talbott’s petition for opposing attorney’s fees, the federal court found that Talbott pursued the litigation in bad faith and engaged in frivolous filings during the proceedings to obtain legal fees. higher avocado. Talbott has been charged with conducting frivolous litigation, failing to expedite litigation, filing exaggerated billing sheets with the court, as well as a thorough and unnecessary discovery to increase attorney fees when he there was no damage dispute between the parties resulting in conduct prejudicial to the administration Justice. (Case no: SC20-1612)
Robert Louis Thirston II, 19211 Panama City Beach Pkwy., PMB 220, Panama City Beach, public reprimand effective immediately following a court order of April 22. (Admitted to practice: 2008) Thirston was found in contempt of court orders dated September 6, 2019 and March 26, 2020 and failed to submit affidavits under oath in accordance with rule 3-5.1 (h ), which were ultimately filed with the Court, albeit premature. (Case no: SC20-865)
Oanh Kim Tran, 16105 N. Florida Ave., Lutz, public reprimand and suspension effective immediately after court order of April 19. (Admitted to Practice: 2014) Tran did not respond to Florida Bar inquiries regarding two pending Florida Bar complaints. Tran admits that she did not respond to the Law Society’s complaints. (Case no: SC21-99)
Richard Lamar Williams, 8451 SW 72nd Ter., Miami, disciplinary revocation without leave to seek readmission effective 30 days after court order of April 15. (Admitted to practice: 1972) Williams was charged with and pleaded guilty to the federal offense of Conspiracy to transmit interstate communication with intent to extort. (Case no: SC21-137)
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