September 1, 2020 Disciplinary Actions
The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 14 attorneys, disbarring three, revoking the license of three, suspending four and reprimanding four. Three attorneys were also given probation and one was ordered to pay restitution. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
Danie Victor Alexandre, 3601 S.E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 003, Stuart, public reprimand followed by a two year period of probation conditioned upon completion of Trust Accounting Workshop and hiring a certified public accountant to prepare and file compliant quarterly audit reports with The Florida Bar effective immediately following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Alexandre failed to maintain the minimum required trust accounting records and failed to follow the minimum required trust accounting procedures, resulting in a check being accidentally issued against the trust account when insufficient funds were present to honor the check. No client funds were threatened. (Case No: SC20-882)
Thomas Jackson Craft, Jr., P.O. Box 4143, Tequesta, public reprimand followed by a two-year period of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $3,750 to Anthony and Angela Glenn as well as attending The Florida Bar Ethics School effective immediately following a July 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Craft was affiliated with an entity that assisted consumers with loan modifications in his capacity as counsel for the consumers. Craft successfully performed his work but failed to fulfill his ethically mandated supervisory responsibilities. (Case No: SC20-896)
Andrew Joseph Decker III, 320 White Ave. S.E., Live Oak, suspended for 30 days effective nunc pro tunc to March 2, 2017, following a July 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) In May 2013, the Judicial Qualifications Commission issued its notice of investigation against Decker. The hearing panel found that Decker misrepresented facts during a debate when he was running for circuit judge. The panel also found that Decker violated the Code of Judicial Conduct Canons, Rules of Professional Conduct and Florida Statutes by publicly announcing his affiliation with the Republic Party while addressing the Lafayette County Republican Executive Committee. The panel found Decker guilty of failing to notify opposing counsel in pending litigation that he represented the presiding judge in other litigation and as a result, the judge could not preside over the upcoming trial. (Case No: SC20-139)
Eduardo Enrique Dieppa III, 10689 N. Kendall Drive, Suite 314, Miami, public reprimand effective immediately following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Dieppa represented a father and son as plaintiffs in a civil action, where the father was suffering from cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Dieppa said that the father was available for deposition despite his cognitive impairment, where he had disclosed this fact as a basis for unavailability in an unrelated case. Dieppa also conveyed that both father and son had agreed to settlement terms without discussing it with the father. (Case No: SC20-883)
Scott Richard Dinin, 4200 N.W. 7 Ave., Miami, suspended for 18 months effective 30 days following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Dinin filed frivolous claims for damages under the Florida Civil Rights Act on behalf of a hearing-impaired client without exhausting administrative remedies. Dinin brought 26 similar ADA cases in the Southern District against gas station owners for their failure to provide closed captions or a similar capability to permit the hearing impaired to understand the entertainment and news content programming at gas pumps pursuant to the Florida Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Dinin charged excessive fees in those cases and split them with his nonlawyer client. To justify his billing rate, Dinin misrepresented his legal qualifications to the court. (Case No: SC20-884)
Lawrence Joseph Forno, 8981 Shoal Creek Lane, Boynton Beach, disciplinary revocation without leave to seek readmission effective 30 days following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Forno pled guilty to one felony count of grand theft in the second degree. Pending Attorney General proceedings allege Forno’s participation in a scheme for the purpose of stealing excess proceeds derived from court-ordered sales of real property. (Case No: SC20-707)
Adrian Gabaldon, P.O. Box 1303, Auburndale, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for readmission after five years effective 30 days following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1971) Despite the conflict of interest, Gabaldon allegedly drafted estate planning documents for an elderly client in which Gabaldon was named as the sole beneficiary and obtained title to the client’s commercial real property. The will was then revoked and the title to the real property was returned to the client. Also, it was alleged that Gabaldon wrote a check drawn upon his law office trust account that was returned due to insufficient funds while he was in the process of closing his law office and associated bank accounts. (Case No: SC20-779)
Ashley Ann Krapacs, P.O. Box 21665, Ft. Lauderdale, disbarred immediately following a July 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) The Florida Supreme Court rejected the referee’s recommendation of a two-year suspension for Krapacs and disbarred her. Krapacs had negatively targeted two local attorneys on social media, as well as impugning a circuit court judge and the appellate court. Krapacs has been emergency suspended since February of 2019. (Case No: SC19-277)
Amanda C. Leary, P.O. Box 222, Palatka, disbarred effective immediately following a July 16, court order. (Admitted to practice: 2014) Leary failed to complete legal matters for several clients, failed to communicate with those clients, and failed to respond to the Bar’s investigative inquiries. (Case No: SC19-1965)
Andrew Dale Ledbetter, 411 N. New River Drive E, Apt. 904, Ft. Lauderdale, disciplinary revocation effective 30 days following a July 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) The Florida Supreme Court granted Ledbetter’s Petition for Disciplinary Revocation. Ledbetter is awaiting charges to be filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Security and Exchange Commission for his participation in activities that were part of a $322 million unregistered securities offering. (Case No: SC20-783)
Timothy McCullough, 7463 Conroy Windermere Road, Suite A, Orlando, suspended for 90 days and required to complete a Trust Accounting Workshop effective 30 days from a July 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) McCullough improperly signed his client’s name to the client’s affidavit and notarized it in his capacity as a Notary Public. McCullough also failed to maintain his law office trust account in substantial minimum compliance with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and failed to follow the minimum required trust accounting procedures. No client funds were endangered. (Case No: SC19-1830)
Joseph Anthony Sorce, 999 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Suite 1020, Coral Gables, public reprimand effective immediately following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Sorce commingled personal funds in his trust account by failing to promptly disburse his fees and depositing the proceeds of the sale of his marital home in the trust account. Although Sorce paid personal expenses from the trust account, he used personal funds to do so. There was no evidence of malfeasance and all client funds were properly accounted for and promptly remitted. (Case No: SC20-881)
Kenneth Lynn Spears, Jr., 4741 Atlantic Blvd., Suite A2, Jacksonville, disbarred effective immediately following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Spears was hired for representation by three separate clients. The clients paid Spears his fee, but then had difficulty communicating with him. After Spears abandoned their cases, they filed complaints with The Florida Bar. Spears was notified of the complaints and was informed that a response was due but failed to respond to the Bar. (Case No: SC19-1765)
Thomas Edmondson Whigham, Jr., 4310 W. Spruce St., Unit 238, Tampa, suspended for 30 days with probation for the length of his Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (FLA) contract and conditions to include active participation in the FLA program by signing a rehabilitation contract, complying with all recommendations by FLA and payment of FLA registration and monitoring fees effective 30 days following a July 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Whigham was arrested on June 25, 2018 and charged with driving under the influence with property damage or personal injury and possession of heroin. He was convicted of driving under the influence. Whigham completed a pre-trial diversion drug court program for the possession of heroin, and the charge was dismissed. (Case No: SC20-887)
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 more than 108,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. 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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.