The Florida Bar

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SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 21 ATTORNEYS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2018
CONTACT: Public Information
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5666

Summaries of orders issued May 15 – July 12, 2018

The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 21 attorneys — disbarring three, revoking the licenses of four, suspending 12, and publicly reprimanding two. Two attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One attorney was ordered to pay restitution; another was also placed on probation.

As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 106,095 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Additional information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam. Historically, less than five percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Francisco Jose Aguero, P.O. Box 141565, Coral Gables, disbarred effective immediately, following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Further, Aguero shall pay restitution of more than $136,000 to former clients. Aguero misappropriated client funds. In three separate cases Aguero failed to diligently represent clients after being paid. In another case, he was a closing agent. Aguero collected property taxes totaling more than $6,500, but he never remitted the funds to the Miami-Dade County Tax Collector. Despite being properly noticed, Aguero did not appear at a Florida Bar case management or final hearing to discuss the matters. (Case No. SC17-2181)

Jeremy W. Alters, 1855 Griffin Road, Suite C470, Dania Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a May 21 Supreme Court order of interim suspension. (Admitted to practice: 1997) (Case No. SC14-100)

Jason Steven Dalley, P.O. Box 880225, Boca Raton. The court granted Dalley’s petition for disciplinary revocation, without leave to seek readmission, effective immediately, following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Dalley pleaded guilty in court to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and health care fraud. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison. (Case No. SC18-819)

Bradley Scott Douglas, 6824 Griffin Road, Davie. The court granted Douglas’ petition for disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days from a June 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary matters pending against Douglas involve  misappropriation of client funds and failure to adequately communicate with clients. (Case No. SC18-709)

Michael Eric Eisenberg, 100 S. Ashley Drive, Suite 600, Tampa, suspended for 91 days effective immediately, following a June 26 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Eisenberg was found in contempt for noncompliance. He failed to comply with the terms of a Feb. 6 suspension order. Specifically, Eisenberg was required to notify his clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension, and provide the Bar within 30 days, a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC18-609)

Morris Joseph Fonte, Jr., P.O. Box 271120, Tampa, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a June 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) As president of a law group, Fonte permitted a situation to exist in which a non-lawyer employee held himself out as an attorney and engaged in the unlicensed practice of law. The non-lawyer also signed Fonte’s signature to paperwork without his permission or knowledge. (Case No. SC18-796)

Joseph Patrick Gaeta, 1601 Jackson St., Suite 102, Fort Myers, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a June 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002)   According to a petition for emergency suspension, Gaeta appeared to be causing great public harm by abandoning his law practice and clients’ legal matters. He also failed to protect his clients’ interests. (Case No. SC18-940)

Marcelo Gomez, 7501 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Suite 201, Fort Lauderdale. The court granted Douglas’ petition for disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days from a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. A disciplinary matter pending against Gomez involves him accepting cash from a cooperating defendant who owned a medical clinic that had treated a few of Gomez’s clients. (Case No. SC18-817)

Melissa A. Heaton, 12222 S.W. 51st St., Cooper City, suspended for one year effective retroactive to Oct. 25, 2017, following a June 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Further, upon reinstatement, Heaton is placed on probation for three years. A determination of guilt for a felony was rendered against Heaton in the criminal division for Broward County. She pleaded no contest to illegal drug possession. (Case No. SC17-1887)

Frederick Joseph Keitel III, P.O. Box 3243, Palm Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from July 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Keitel was found in contempt for failure to respond to official Bar inquiries regarding a complaint against him.  (Case No. SC18-780)

Lori Kathryn Kovacs, P.O. Box 273881, Boca Raton, disbarred effective 30 days from a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Kovacs was found in contempt for failing to appear and testify before a grievance committee, after being served a subpoena by regular and certified mail. Kovacs also failed to respond to Bar inquiries regarding  questionable financial matters. In one instance, a trust account check was returned for insufficient funds. (Case No. SC18-373)

Dale James Morgado, 85 Wall Street, Suite 1100, New York, NY, suspended until further order, following a July 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Morgado appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds and abandoning clients. (Case No. SC18-1084)

Daniel Warren Morse, Jr., 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Suite 201, Longboat Key,    suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Morse appeared to be causing great public harm based on his misappropriation of at least $31,000 in client funds. (Case No. SC18-1028)

Guillermo Perez, 13531 S.W. 34th St., Miami, suspended for 18 months, effective 30 days from a June 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Perez committed fraud while acting as the closing agent in a commercial real estate transaction. (Case No. SC16-111)

Byron Gregory Petersen, 21346 Saint Andrews Blvd., Suite 200, Boca Raton, suspended for three years, following a July 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976)     In handling several cases for a married couple, Petersen intentionally created conflicts of interest. He neglected cases, he failed to communicate; he lost or misplaced documents the clients were entitled to, and he made misrepresentations to them. (Case No. SC14-1942)

Lynn Pope, P.O. Box 320103, Tampa, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a May 31 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Pope was found in contempt for noncompliance. She failed to comply with the terms of a May 31 suspension order. Specifically, Pope was required to notify her clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of her suspension, and provide the Bar within 30 days, a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order. (Case No. SC18-601)

Bernardo Roman III, P.O. Box 141726, Coral Gables, permanently disbarred effective 30 days from a July 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Roman filed three separate frivolous lawsuits in state and federal courts against two former attorneys for the Miccosukee Tribe. He knowingly made false allegations, failed to comply with discovery requests and orders, and withheld evidence. He also evaded service of a deposition subpoena and made false accusations to the police in a 911 call. (Case No. SC16-1330)

Cindy LoCicero Runyan, 4721 W. Wallcraft Ave., Tampa, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a June 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Runyan was found in contempt for noncompliance. She failed to comply with the terms of a July 31, 2017, suspension order. Specifically, Runyan was required to notify her clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of her suspension, and provide the Bar within 30 days, a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order. (Case No. SC18-596)

Nashid Sabir, Suite 217, 18441 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following a June 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Further, Sabir shall attend ethics school. Sabir did not diligently handle an immigration matter after being retained. He did not adequately communicate with the client and he failed to inform her when her petition was denied. (Case No. SC17-2137)

Shazia Nagamia Sparkman, 313 S. Bungalow Park Ave., Tampa, to be publicly reprimanded following a July 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Shortly after being retained by a client and during the time period in question, Sparkman was absent from the office for several months. Sparkman’s absence affected her ability to adequately supervise her staff. During her absence, the staff was left mostly unsupervised and confused about their duties and responsibilities. (Case No. SC17-479)

Nathaniel W. Tindall, 4012 N. Florida Ave., Tampa. The court granted Tindall’s petition for disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 60 days from a June 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Tindall had several disciplinary matters against him that involved lack of diligence, lack of communication, and many trust account violations. (Case No. SC18-817

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