November 1, 2023 Disciplinary Actions
The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined seven attorneys, disbarring two, revoking the license of one, and suspending four.
Kelly Elizabeth Elkins, 10115 4th St. E., Treasure Island, disbarred effective immediately following a September 28 court order, as Elkins was already suspended. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Elkins misappropriated $25,000 of funds entrusted to her as the escrow agent for a bitcoin transaction. In a separate matter, Elkins was arrested on two separate dates for misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and trespass, respectively. Elkins entered no contest pleas related to each matter but failed to timely report the criminal dispositions to the Bar. (Case No. SC23-0399)
Mariano Ramon Gonzalez, Jr., 1401 Sawgrass Corporate Pkwy., Suite 186, Sunrise, suspended until further order of the Court, effective 30 days following an October 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993). Gonzalez failed to respond to a Bar inquiry. The Florida Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on July 24, 2023. On July 26, 2023, the Florida Supreme Court ordered Gonzalez to show cause by August 10, 2023. Gonzalez failed to file a response to the court’s Order to Show Cause. Gonzalez was held in contempt and suspended until he has fully responded in writing to an official Bar inquiry, and until further order of the court. (Case No. SC23-1049)
Oscar Antonio Hotusing, 857 Banyan Dr., Melbourne, suspended for 91 days with proof of rehabilitation required prior to being reinstated to the practice of law and completion of Ethics School, effective 30 days following a September 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Hotusing assisted a client in a dissolution of marriage matter that was filed in Maryland, even though Hotusing was not admitted to practice law in Maryland. Hotusing e-filed pleadings and other documents for the client through the Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC). Hotusing used his law office email address and chose a pro se category when registering with MDEC, thereby concealing his assistance to the client from the trial court. When opposing counsel in the dissolution case discovered Hotusing’s conduct, she notified the trial court and reported it to The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC22-0944)
Brandon Scott Labiner, 23322 La Vida Way, Boca Raton, disciplinary revocation without leave to seek readmission effective immediately following a September 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) Labiner misappropriated over $400,000 from his stepmother’s trust fund, of which he was the sole trustee. He also forged documents submitted to the Bar, including bank records and an affidavit, and failed to withdraw from three cases after he was emergency suspended. Additionally, Labiner was charged with second-degree murder of his father and is being held without bond. (Case No. SC23-0945)
Bradley Nephase Laurent, 8615 Commodity Cir., Suite 6, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately following a September 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Over a period of more than three years, Laurent, a personal injury lawyer, misappropriated a significant amount of client funds from his law office trust account. Laurent was deceptive with the Bar during its early investigation in this matter and misrepresented on his Bar annual fee statements that he was in compliance with the Bar’s rules regulating trust accounts. Laurent later cooperated with the Bar’s investigation, hired a Certified Public Accountant to correct the trust account records and corrected the shortage through the use of his personal funds and loans. (Case No. SC22-851)
Ronald Stuart Lubetsky, 220 SW Natura Ave., Deerfield Beach, felony suspended effective 30 days following a September 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) The Florida Bar filed its Notice of Determination or Judgment of Guilt following a judgment finding Lubetsky guilty of seven (7) counts of knowingly and intentionally dispensing a controlled substance without authorization by law, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). Lubetsky was committed to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a total term of sixty (60) months. (Case No. SC23-1249)
Jason Dale Volkman, 2320 SW 140th Ave., Ocala, suspended pursuant to 3-7.2(f), the felony suspension rule, effective 30 days following an October 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Volkman pled nolo-contendere to one count of Sexual Battery on a Person 12-18 Years by a Person in Familial Custodial Authority, a first-degree felony, 20 counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, second-degree felonies, 20 counts of Possession of Child Pornography (10 or more images), second-degree felonies, one count of Delivery of Opiates, a second-degree felony, 2 counts of Video Voyeurism, third-degree felonies, and one count of Contributing to the Delinquency or Dependency of a Minor, a first-degree misdemeanor. The court adjudicated Volkman guilty of all the above-referenced charges and sentenced him to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections followed by five years of sex offender probation in Count 1, 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections in Counts 2–42, five years in the Florida Department of Corrections in Counts 43–44, and 364 days in the Marion County Jail in Count 45, with credit for 496 days’ time served. The counts are to run concurrently. (Case No. SC23-1379)
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 111,000 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. 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. 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.
Originally published at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/november-1-2023-disciplinary-actions/