Bartow attorney suspended following discovery of child support scheme

By Olivia Olsen | May 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — Bartow attorney Bradford L. Stewart was suspended from the practice of law by the Florida Supreme Court after it was discovered that the attorney had allegedly concocted a scheme to help a client pay less child support. 

Stewart was hired in January 2010 to represent a man in an ongoing child support matter from an extramarital affair. According to the consent judgment released by the Supreme Court, the attorney was unfamiliar with family law but agreed to represent the client because he worked for the attorney’s uncle. Stewart’s uncle also used him as an attorney for his company. 

The client’s child support case was described as “extremely acrimonious,” which led to the attorney’s solution for his client. Stewart allegedly conspired with his uncle and the client to give the illusion that he was earning a smaller income in order to have his child support reduced. The idea was for the attorney’s uncle to change the client’s job title to one with a lower salary and present the new documents to the courts, records state. The scheme was successful, and the child support order was based on the fraudulent documents.

The scheme was discovered seven years later. The emailed communications between the three men were found by the mother in the child support case. It was brought to the court’s attention when she filed for a termination of the previous child support arrangement, court records show. She was granted a new order based on the client’s actual salary and was paid the difference. 

The attorney will be suspended for 91 days. Stewart has been a member of the Florida Bar since his admission in 2005. He is a graduate of the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and has no prior record of discipline. 

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