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Frank Ray Keasler Jr. (from Florida Bar website)

Florida Supreme Court disciplines 29 attorneys

From Staff

The Florida Bar announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 29 attorneys; disbarring five, revoking the licenses of two, suspending 21 and placing one on probation. One is from Jacksonville.

Three attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One was ordered to pay restitution and two were placed on probation.

• Angela Morton Armstrong, 1155 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 28 court order. Armstrong was found in contempt for failing to respond to Bar inquiries regarding two disciplinary cases. She also failed to appear before a grievance committee regarding the cases and failed to inform the committee that she would be unable to attend.

• Antonio R. Arnao, 28870 U.S. Highway 19 N., Suite 300, Clearwater, suspended until further order, effective immediately, following a Jan. 27 court order. Arnao was found in contempt for failing to comply with a grievance committee subpoena for trust records and client files regarding four discipline cases.

• Jason Todd Banks, 2023 Cato Court, Indialantic, suspended for 91 days, effective Dec. 31, 2013, following a Dec. 20, 2013 court order. In Oct. 2011, Banks agreed to relinquish his certification as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, without leave to reapply. The Florida Dispute Resolution Center referred the matter to The Florida Bar. Banks admitted to engaging in conduct involving an impermissible conflict of interest and attempting to influence the complainant to dismiss the grievance that he filed with the Dispute Resolution Center.

• Michael Leroy Bryant, 190 N.E. 189th Ave., Old Town, placed on probation for six months, effective immediately, following a Jan. 13 court order. In two separate cases, Bryant served as Assistant Regional Conflict Counsel, representing criminal defendants and mismanaged the transition from trial to appellate jurisdiction. Bryant’s failure to respond to communications from the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal, resulted in delay and wasted judicial resources.

• Marshall Lawrence Cohen, P.O. Box 60292, Fort Myers, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 30 court order. According to a petition for emergency suspension, there was a substantial likelihood that Cohen would cause great public harm. Cohen was also a member of the Georgia State Bar. He attempted to practice law in the Middle District of Florida despite being disbarred by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit as a reciprocal discipline for his disbarment from the Georgia State Bar.

• Yolanda Maria Concepcion, P.O. Box 611505, North Miami, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a Dec. 26 court order. Further, upon reinstatement, Concepcion is placed on probation for two years. From 2007 through 2011, Concepcion withheld payroll taxes from her employee but did not remit them to the federal or state government.

• Johnny Euell DuBose Jr., 1432 Newbridge Lane, Orlando. The Supreme Court granted DuBose’s request for a disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from a July 15 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. DuBose had a complaint pending involving misappropriation of funds from a law firm’s trust account.

• James Daniel Eckert, 4880 Locust St. N.E., Apt. 123, St. Petersburg, suspended for 45 days, effective Dec. 27, 2013, following a December 20 court order. Eckert represented a woman in a child custody case. He was removed from the case by the court after opposing counsel for the ex-husband filed a motion to disqualify him. According to an order, the court believed it had no alternative, due to Eckert’s unacceptable behavior, which included verbal abuse of the opposing party and counsel.

• Jeffrey Hilliard Hochberg, 1121 S. Military Trail No. 177, Deerfield Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 28 court order. Hochberg was found in contempt for repeatedly failing to respond to official Bar inquiries regarding a complaint.

• Guy M. Jean-Pierre, 433 Plaza Real, Suite 275, Boca Raton, disbarred effective 30 days from a Jan. 13 court order. Jean-Pierre engaged in fraudulent behavior by forging the name of his attorney niece and filing letters pertaining to publicly traded companies under her name, without her knowledge or consent. In one letter, Jean-Pierre knowingly made material misrepresentations.

• Frank Ray Keasler Jr., 4215 Southpoint Blvd. Suite 140, Jacksonville, suspended for three years, effective 30 days from a Jan. 8 court order. Further, Keasler shall pay restitution of $32,500 to two clients. Keasler’s handling of two related cases resulted in misconduct including conflict of interest and charging an excessive fee.

• Jussi Kustaa Kivisto, 1010 10th Ave. N., No. 2, Lake Worth, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 28 court order. Kivisto was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a May 2010 suspension order and a September 2010 disbarment order. He maintained a sign at his office identifying himself as an attorney, advertised his availability for legal services and prepared and used a false document designating himself as “Esq.”

• Hugh Henry Lee, 416 N. Lawrence St., Bushnell. The Supreme Court granted Lee’s request for a disciplinary revocation, effective Jan. 3, following a Dec. 26 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Lee had previously been disciplined: twice for criminal conduct (DUI), once for neglect and subsequently for violating the terms of his diversion by testing positive for cocaine. Lee had complaints pending involving allegations that he violated his contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance by testing positive for alcohol in 2012 and testing positive for cocaine in 2013.

• Anthony Martin Livoti Jr., 721 N.E. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale, suspended until further order, following a Jan. 14 court order. Livoti was found guilty in federal court of conspiracy to commit mail/wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, all felonies.

• Michael H. Lubin, 16831 N.E. 15th Ave., North Miami Beach, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 30 court order. Lubin was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a June 2010 disbarment order. Lubin was required to provide a sworn affidavit to The Florida Bar within 30 days of his disbarment, listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his disbarment order.

• Peter M. MacNamara, 3908 Main Highway, Miami, suspended for 90 days and placed on probation for two years following a Dec. 19 court order. MacNamara represented a client in a probate matter involving the filing of federal estate taxes. He failed to be forthright with the Bar about the circumstances of the filing during the disciplinary process.

• Frank Excel Marley III, 12555 Orange Drive, Suite 4082, Davie, suspended effective 30 days from a Jan. 6 court order. Marley was found guilty in court of one count of wire and mail fraud and six counts of theft from an Indian Tribe — all felonies.

• Richard Martin Nelson, 1625 N. Commerce Pkwy., Suite 225, Weston, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 6 court order. According to a petition for emergency suspension, Martin appeared to be causing great public harm. The Bar’s investigation found that Nelson misappropriated funds. He was charged in court with one count of organized fraud, grand theft in the first degree and grand theft in the third degree.

• Yvonne Marquette Nelson, P.O. Box 720598, Orlando, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a Dec. 19 court order. Nelson was found in indirect civil contempt for failing to appear for a case management conference. She filed a notice of conclusion of representation prior to the date of the hearing. Nelson was also sanctioned for relying on her client’s representations of material facts that were unfounded and untrue. She did insufficient due diligence and took no action to verify the information even after being put on notice by the opposing counsel.

• Donette Sonya Russell-Love, 7450 Griffin Road, Davie, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a Jan. 23 court order. Russell-Love acted improperly while assisting a client in securing a Visa that would allow her to legally enter the United States to participate in professional tennis tournaments held by the United States Tennis Association. She knowingly listed the USTA as the organization filing the form and used her law office address as the contact for the USTA. She also forged the name of the client on the line designated for the client’s signature. The client was ultimately charged with violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act and was subject to “permanent inadmissibility” to the United States.

• Benjamin David Rust, 359 N. Monroe St., Tallahassee, disbarred effective retroactive to Oct. 25, 2011, following a Jan. 10 court order. Rust violated his Oct. 25, 2011, suspension order by representing two clients after the effective date of the suspension. He had previously violated the terms of his 2009 probation order.

• Edward Wilson Schmoll, 31 Island Way, Apt. 207, Clearwater, suspended until further order, following a Jan. 8 court order. Schmoll was found in contempt for willful non-compliance and failure to respond to Bar inquiries about insufficient funds notices involving his trust account.

• Benson Abram Snaider, P.O. Box 3162, New Haven, Conn., suspended effective 30 days from a Jan. 10 court order. Snaider, who was also a member of the Connecticut Bar, pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of Connecticut, to a first-degree felony for misappropriating $800,000 in client funds.

• Kelly Earlise Speer, P.O. Box 172067, Tampa, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a Jan. 22 court order. Speer was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of an April. 19, 2013, suspension order. Speer was required to provide a sworn affidavit to The Florida Bar within 30 days of her suspension, listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order.

• David James Stern, 950 S. Pine Island Road, Suite 150A, Plantation, disbarred effective 30 days from a Jan. 7 court order. Stern’s disbarment stems from misconduct in the handling of thousands of foreclosure matters. Issues ranged from little or no supervision of associates and non-attorney employees to abandonment of client files, to failing to acknowledge an order to appear in appeals court.

• Nick W. Stieglitz Jr., 6855 S.W. 81st St., Suite 100, suspended until further order, following a Dec. 23 court order. According to a petition for emergency suspension, Stieglitz appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds.

• Henry Lamar Willis, 2745 Tell Place Way, S.W., Atlanta, Ga., suspended until further order, following a Jan. 31 court order. Based upon the facts in the petition for emergency suspension, there was a substantial likelihood that Willis would cause great public harm if not suspended. Willis was also a member of the Georgia State Bar. He was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Georgia on Oct. 7 for misappropriating client trust funds.

• Jean Reagan Wilson, 705 103rd Ave. N., Naples, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a Jan. 13 court order. Wilson’s solo practice was run by a non-lawyer when she left the state to attend to a personal family matter. During her absence, she did not represent her clients or oversee the law practice. She did not report her CLE credits and subsequently became ineligible to practice law. During her delinquency, Wilson’s non-lawyer improperly filed five motions.

• Richard Bruce Wingate, P.O. Box 711, Black Mountain, N.C., suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from a Jan. 28 court order. Wingate was hired by a non-profit health corporation in North Carolina as its corporate attorney and president. He represented to the group that he was licensed to practice law in Florida and Pennsylvania, when in fact he had retired from the Pennsylvania Bar in 1994. Wingate had not satisfied his Continuing Legal Education Requirement in Florida, therefore, he was ineligible to practice law. Wingate also accepted money from two clients to handle cases even though he knew his status with The Florida Bar.

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