Skip to main content
Law
Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 5, 201612:00 PM EST

Florida Supreme Court suspends St. Augustine attorney from practicing law after arrest on drug charges

Share

The Florida Supreme Court disciplined 26 attorneys — disbarring four, revoking the licenses of four, suspending 12 and publicly reprimanding six.

One is from Northeast Florida:

• Samuel Harker Lanier, 3791 Florida A1A S., Suite B, St. Augustine, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Lanier pleaded no contest to several charges, including possession of cocaine, a felony; driving while license canceled, suspended or revoked, a misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to drug offender probation for two years for the felony charge and one year of probation for the possession of drug paraphernalia charge to be supervised by the Department of Corrections. He failed to notify The Florida Bar, as required, of his felony charge and judgment of guilt.

Others are:

• Marcy Elizabeth Abitz, Cooper City, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) According to a petition for emergency suspension order, Abitz appeared to be causing great public harm. A Bar investigation found she misappropriated more than $8,900 in funds that were sent to her in error and should have been immediately returned to the sender.

• Robert D. Adams, Tampa, permanently disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Adams and two lawyer colleagues intentionally targeted and caused the wrongful arrest of an opposing counsel in a high-profile case for the benefit of themselves and their client. Adams concealed evidence and lied about his conduct.

• Brett Michael Anthony, Altamonte Springs, suspended for 10 days. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Upon reinstatement, Anthony is further placed on probation for three years. Anthony failed to notify the Bar of several criminal cases and the determination of guilt and/or convictions against him, as required.

• Nicholas Michael Athanason, St. Petersburg, to be publicly reprimanded. (Admitted to practice: 1989) He is further placed on probation for one year. A Bar audit revealed Athanason failed to properly monitor and supervise trust accounting practices and procedures for his firm’s trust account. The audit also found seven instances in which Athanason disbursed about $1,000 belonging to clients and third parties who could not be located by his firm.

• Mark Carmel, West Palm Beach, to be publicly reprimanded. Carmel is a licensed New York attorney practicing immigration law in Florida and is subject to the jurisdiction and disciplinary rules of the Supreme Court of Florida. Carmel was hired to help obtain a visa for a client. When the client changed his mind, he requested a refund. Carmel had done some work on the case and mistakenly deposited the refund check into his law office account.

• Sunilda E. Casilla, Miami. The Supreme Court granted Casilla’s request for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary charges pending against Casilla involved several real estate transactions.

• Curtis Marlow Elmore, Gainesville. The Supreme Court granted Elmore’s request for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary charges pending against Elmore involved a foreclosure action against clients.

• Bruce Charles Fehr, Flintstone, Ga., suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Fehr pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to one count of child pornography. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

• David A. Fernandez, Bradenton, to be publicly reprimanded. (Admitted to practice: 2010) Further, Fernandez shall undergo an office procedures and recordkeeping analysis under the direction of the Diversion/Discipline Consultation Service. He shall complete the Bar’s ethics school. He did not act diligently in representing several clients. In some instances, he did not adequately communicate and he failed to file necessary paperwork with the courts.

• Adam Robert Filthaut, Tampa, permanently disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Filthaut and two lawyer colleagues intentionally targeted and caused the wrongful arrest of an opposing counsel in a high-profile case for the benefit of themselves and their client. Filthaut concealed evidence and lied about his conduct.

• Patrick John Hammergren, Pensacola. The Supreme Court granted Hammergren’s request for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Hammergren must pay restitution of $4,500 to three former clients. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary charges against Hammergren included noncompliance with Rule 3-5.1(h) affidavit, practicing law while suspended, client neglect and misrepresentation.

• Paul Aaron Herman, Delray Beach, to be publicly reprimanded. (Admitted to practice: 1984) After being hired, Herman failed to pursue the objectives of the representation and failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.

• Cory Matthew Meltzer, Boca Raton, permanently disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Meltzer was the subject of several pending disciplinary matters. Meltzer was charged with patient brokering, a felony, and one count of attempted solicitation of motor vehicle accident victims, a misdemeanor. Meltzer entered a plea to a charge of attempted patient brokering, a misdemeanor.

• David Barry Newman, New York City, to be publicly reprimanded following a June 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010) Newman had a conflict of interest in representing several clients in trademark matters before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. One client was not aware of the conflict.

• Stephen Michael Newman, Palm Beach Gardens. The Supreme Court granted Newman’s request for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary charges pending against Newman involved a guilty plea to grand larceny, a felony, in the state of New York, where he also was admitted to practice law.

• Michael Olshefski, Port Orange, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Olshefski was found in contempt for noncompliance. He failed to respond to an official Bar inquiry regarding a complaint.

• Jean M. Picon, Melbourne, suspended. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Picon was suspended until further order pending the outcome of the appeal of an underlying disciplinary matter.

• David S. Rothenberg, Fort Lauderdale, suspended until further order (Admitted to practice: 2006) Rothenberg pleaded and was adjudicated guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to one count of possession of child pornography, a felony.

• Aubrey George Rudd, Miami, suspended for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Rudd was the settlement agent for two real estate transactions that he mishandled. He or his law firm prepared settlement statements that contained numerous misrepresentations. In each instance, documents indicated the borrower provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to close a transaction. However, bank records did not reflect the borrower provided any funds to close the transaction.

• James L. Schmidt II, Pensacola, suspended until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Schmidt was found guilty by a jury in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., of one count of felony money laundering. According to the indictment, Schmidt was involved in an illegal scheme to sell counterfeit securities with no monetary value to unwitting investors.

• Marlon Alphanso Smikle, Lake Mary, suspended. (Admitted to practice: 2014) Smikle pleaded no contest in circuit court to practicing law without a license, a felony. He had been suspended previously in October 2015 for three years.

• James C. Stewart Jr., Naples, disbarred. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Stewart became a delinquent member of the Bar on Oct. 1, 2013. Three days later, he prepared a deed and other documents for transferring a condominium from a client to the client’s daughter. After receiving the executed documents and checks for fees and recording costs, Stewart failed to record the documents and failed to communicate with the client or the primary counsel.

• Philip Stillman, Jupiter, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Stillman violated Bar rules regarding responsibility for non-lawyer employees. Respondent admitted to routinely accepting several referrals each month from a nonemployee who, unbeknownst to him, was improperly soliciting clients for the firm.

• Jeffery Toney, Crestview, suspended for 90 days. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Further, upon reinstatement, Toney is placed on probation for two years. While working at an immigration center, Toney engaged in misrepresentation with clients, federal immigration agencies and the court. He also engaged in the unlicensed practice of law by leaving his signature stamp at the immigration center, to be used by a non-lawyer employee who had previously been disbarred.

• Anne Leah Weintraub, Sarasota, suspended for six months. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Weintraub failed to read loan documents in her personal real estate transactions that contained inaccurate information before signing them. She was also the account holder of a firm trust account that generated two insufficient funds notices in transactions handled by another attorney in the firm.

Be the first to know the latest breaking news and information that business leaders rely on in this fast-paced changing Northeast Florida economy. Regional business news, trends and statistics needed to grow your business. Key upcoming events you won’t want to miss and much more. Click Here to Grow your Business NOW!

Related Stories

Advertisement