A Miami Beach lawyer has been disbarred after taking a $10,000 retainer for a pending criminal appeal but failing to take any action on the client’s behalf, while a Pembroke Pines attorney was disbarred after engaging in multiple offenses of misconduct.
The Florida Supreme Court told Mark David Swanson to make $10,000 restitution to his client in its disbarment order. In another case, the court said Swanson never responded to a request to release guardianship funds for a minor who had become of age.
Mark F. Dickson of Pembroke Pines was disbarred after the court found he was involved in misappropriation of more than $1.6 million in client funds for personal use, forgery and false notarization in at least seven legal matters. Dickson reached numerous settlements without client authorization or knowledge, failed to keep proper trust accounting records, failed to communicate adequately with clients and gave false testimony to The Florida Bar.
The high court also extended for two years the disbarment of Kendrick Gerard Whittle of Miami. He was disbarred in 2009 but in 2011 identified himself as an attorney to an assisted living facility administrator, saying a resident asked him to represent her. Whittle may not apply for readmission to The Bar before Oct. 23, 2014.
In another recent disciplinary case, G. Walter Araujo of Hialeah was suspended after he admitted accepting clients from and sharing fees with a nonlawyer for years. Additionally, Araujo’s trust account records in 2010 showed a shortage of about $8,497.
He also improperly solicited a client injured in an automobile accident. Araujo sent a representative to the woman’s house offering legal services even though she had not contacted anyone seeking such services.
Brian Eldon Gray of Fort Lauderdale was suspended following a petition for emergency suspension alleging misappropriation of client trust funds. In multiple instances he did not apply funds entrusted to him for specific purposes but used them in a matter similar to a Ponzi scheme.
Mark Howard Klein of Boca Raton was suspended after being found in contempt for repeatedly failing to respond to Bar inquiries about a complaint.
Albert Richard Meyer of Boynton Beach was suspended for 60 days. In the course of handling foreclosure defense and loan-modification cases, Meyer shared legal fees with nonlawyers and was associated with two nonlegal entities who improperly solicited clients.
Erin Lynne Pasternack of Miami was suspended for 60 days after pleading no contest to two misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She was accused of delivering contraband to her former boyfriend who was in custody at the Broward County Jail.
Victor Kalman Rones of North Miami Beach was suspended for 30 days for a conflict of interest. He represented two former clients in a matter in which they had adverse interests and wishes.
Deborah Susan Rose of West Palm Beach was publicly reprimanded after she was found in contempt for willful noncompliance. She failed to provide certain documents requested by The Bar and in some instances failed to respond to Bar inquiries.
Scott Franklyn Saidel of Boca Raton was suspended after pleading guilty to a federal count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstructing justice and tampering with a witness. Sentencing is scheduled for June 7.