TALLAHASSEE — Coral Springs attorney Richard Eugene Ehrlich was recently suspended from the practice of law by the Florida Supreme Court due to the attorney’s hiring and delegating responsibilities to nonattorney employees.
Between 2011 and 2014, Ehrlich operated Ehrlich & Franz to provide loan modification services. The firm was often run by nonattorney employees who conducted most of the communication with clients.
According to the consent judgment released by the Florida Supreme Court, one of Erlich’s nonattorney employees, Joe Sagarra, began retaining clients in Maryland, a state in which the attorney is not licensed to practice. Additionally, Segarra received upfront fees for loan modification services, which is against the rules regulating the Florida Bar.
When the state Bar began its investigation and Segarra’s conduct brought to Ehrlich’s attention, the attorney took steps to reconcile the situation. He fired the nonattorney employee and made restitutions of nearly $90,000. His effort to remedy the situation paired with his lack of disciplinary record and his cooperation with the state Bar’s investigation were taken into account to determine sentencing.
Ehrlich waved his right to a probable cause hearing, instead admitting to culpability and consenting to discipline. The attorney has been suspended for 90 days, which went into effect on March 1 after a letter from the attorney requesting a start date prior to the standard 30 days from the order date was approved. He also had to pay restitution to six clients for the amounts of $2,500, $2,270, $700, $1,400, $1,000 and $1,485 within 60 days of Feb. 16. Ehrlich is also responsible for the court costs of $2,997.05.
Ehrlich was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1991. He is a graduate of the Washington University School of Law and has no prior record of discipline.