Four South Florida lawyers disciplined over the past month are accused of white-collar crime, a car theft, cheating and child porn.
The state Supreme Court suspended or disbarred the lawyers, all from Broward. They are:
▪ Plantation’s Lauren Bannigan (Nova Southeastern School of Law, 2013) is suspended until further notice after pleading no contest to a charge of cheating. In Bannigan’s case, the cheating involved health insurance fraud. While counsel of NuMed Care, prosecutors allege, Bannigan and others operated a $175 million scheme in which they used friends’ and family members’ health insurance information to get false prescriptions for pain creams. Bannigan got three years’ probation from the criminal court.
▪ Alan LeBou Carner (New England School of Law) was the first name in the personal injury firm Carner Newmark & Cohen. It’s now just Cohen & Newmark. Carner left the firm following allegations of misappropriating client funds from a trust account. The funds have been replaced, but Carner is still receiving a disciplinary revocation until at least Jan. 5, 2022. That’s when he can apply for readmission to the Bar.
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▪ Joseph Cichowski (Nova Southeastern School of Law, 1999) was suspended until further notice on Jan. 20. This isn’t Cichowski’s first time with bar discipline. He received an admonishment for improperly supervising a paralegal and problems that arose from sloppy paperwork. But, in 2014, Cichowski’s transgressions grew — he is accused of using a bad check to buy a used car at dealership Off Lease Only. That earned him charges for obtaining property for a worthless draft, check or debit card and grand theft auto. He pleaded guilty to the latter, and must pay $21,321.14 in restitution.
▪ David Rothenberg (Nova Southeastern School of Law) was disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court as he has been serving 17 years for child pornography while a child molestation case works its way through the Broward courts. A year ago, according to documents, Rothenberg was in the midst of a month-long e-mail relationship with a divorced mother of two. He sent the woman links to child pornography and told her he was sexually exploiting a minor girl, who turned out to be 13. “Liz” was an undercover officer in the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force when Rothenberg told “Liz” last Feb. 20 that he and the girl had just finished sex. Police took away a computer with over 1,000 unique images of child pornography, some with kids under 12 and some using children in sado-masochistic imagery. Rothenberg pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography possession in June. He is still up in Broward on five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, lewd and lascivious battery and sexual battery on a victim 11 to 17 years of age.
He’s been permanently disbarred.