Florida

Embezzling, fraud and a hunt for sex with a child. These attorneys are in trouble

A new list of South Florida attorneys disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court includes two people in federal prison, two embezzlers and one lawyer accused of taking advantage of a client with substance abuse problems.

In alphabetical order:

St. Petersburg attorney Kelley Bosecker was disbarred after showing a disdain for lawful authorities. She was suspended after ignoring federal court rulings (“The federal court found that [Bosecker] continued to pursue her clients claims even though she was advised they were frivolous”) and lower level court rulings (Bosecker “filed a motion to set aside a default, which the court denied. [Bosecker] then filed a second procedurally unauthorized motion which the court admonished her for…”).

Then, while suspended, Bosecker didn’t tell lawyers on opposing sides that she was suspended. The University of Toledo Law School graduate continued to practice law.

Ever wonder what embezzlement is? This white collar crime is hurting businesses all over.

Jonathan Bull of Vero Beach and St. Thomas Law School is out of the law business until Nov. 17, 2019, for improper supervision of employees. Bull was persuaded to take over ownership of Liberty Law by Thomas McGill, Judge Phillips III and Sandra Lentz, none of whom were lawyers. McGill and Phillips, through another company, made Liberty Law a $160,000 loan. The Referee’s report says Bull, as managing member of Liberty Law, “acquiesced to actions taken by the nonlawyers or complied with their demands such that [Bull] did not always operate as the person in charge. The Referee’s Report blamed “the financial obligation to the nonlawyers” via the loan. It also stated the “nonlawyers engaged in a pattern of criminal conduct” behind Bull’s back.

Sheldon Burnett, a University of Miami Law School graduate who works in Bay Harbor Islands, received a public reprimand. Burnett held the CEO position with Slidex. When Slidex sued a former employee, Burnett’s consent agreement admits, he contacted the former employee directly outside her attorney’s presence and didn’t copy her attorney as he talked about settlement offers, the lawsuit’s merits and possible strategies. The consent agreement also says some of the communications contained an overabundance of nastiness, such as when Burnett gave the former employee the idea “he would expose [her] sexual encounters with her men to her boyfriend if she did not settle her case.”

Former Florida State University deputy general counsel Dayton Cramer was permanently disbarred after a federal court jury found him guilty of trying to entice a minor into sexual activity, a case described in a July Herald article. Cramer got 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release.

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Dayton Cramer, former Florida State University deputy general counsel Florida Bar

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John Faro, a Miami attorney and Boston University School of Law graduate, began his 90-day suspension Oct. 28 for improper communication with a person already represented by counsel.

Christopher Fulmer of Winter Springs decided to go for disciplinary revocation with permission to ask for readmission to the Florida Bar after five years. That means Fulmer is, in effect, disbarred. According to his petition for disciplinary revocation, Fulmer allegedly embezzled $45,000 from Stewart Title Guaranty Company while general counsel in 2012 and 2013, then allegedly $30,000 from 2014 through 2018 as general counsel at Old Republic National Title Insurance Company. The petition says Fulmer “refunded the allegedly misappropriated funds” to each company.

John Griffin was suspended until Jan. 5. The DePaul University School of Law alumnus owes over $56,000 in back federal taxes after not filing his taxes in seven of eight years from 2008 to 2015. The Bar said Griffin wasn’t trying to evade taxes or engage in fraud. He just didn’t have the money.

Kissimmee attorney Thomas Sadaka had money. Some of it belonged to NeJame Law, of which Sadaka became a non-equity partner in 2010. The definition of “Non-equity partner” does not include client payments being diverted directly to your personal accounts, as a NeJame Law alleged, according to a police report. Facing two first-degree fraud and theft charges, Sadaka pleaded to grand theft of $20,000 or more, a second-degree felony. The University of Florida School of Law graduate got 10 years’ probation in addition to paying restitution. His suspension from the Bar is indefinite for now.

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Thomas Sadaka Florida Dept. of Corrections

Jacksonville attorney Robert Selzer’s Bar discipline documents say he met client “J.L.” “at a meeting which they both attended regularly at that time.” Selzer was J.L.’s listed attorney when she got busted in January 2016 after a DUI incident and, three months later, on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly disturbance-public intoxication. J.L. said she paid Selzer $109,600 between January 2016 and March 2017, paying Selzer by cash, check or credit card “every time he told her to.”

When the Bar asked for a complete copy of his files on J.L., which would include time and billing Selzer “notified Bar counsel that he had ‘lost’ his file on [J.L.] and had no bank records of any kind.” The Florida Coastal School of Law alumnus also told the Bar that as two of J.L.’s violation of probation charges came during times she went to buy beer and cigarettes while drunk, “as part of my representation, I would assist her in running errands.”

But that’s not congruent with Selzer’s claim that he provided no representation from October 0216 through January 2017 while he was delinquent in Florida Bar dues and continuing legal education requirements. He’s suspended until Nov. 17, 2021, and ordered to pay $40,000 restitution to J.L.

Eric Waraftig’s address official Bar address is a P.O. Box in Hialeah. Until January 2020, Waraftig’s actual address is 3901 Klein Blvd. in Lompoc, California, the medium-security USP Lompoc after being found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy in federal court. In addition to his 18-month sentence, the University of Miami School of Law graduate owes $742,682 in restitution after he and some cronies tried to defraud QVC.

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