Florida Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Orlando attorney disbarred for overdrafting more than $58,000 from trust account

By Karen Kidd | Jul 18, 2017

Orlando attorney Paul R. Linder has been disbarred following an April 20 Florida Supreme Court order regarding allegations he overdrafted more than $58,000 from a client trust account.

The state Supreme Court issued its order of disciplinary revocation, tantamount to disbarment, without leave to seek readmission. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order June 29.

In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires. Attorneys disbarred in the state may not re-apply for admission for five years and even then they must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Linder was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 28, 1982, according to his profile at the state bar website. Linder has had no other discipline before the state bar for at least 10 years, according to his profile.

On Oct. 6, 2016, an area bank alerted the state bar to an overdraft of $58,174.21 in Linder's trust account, which Linder alleged was immediately covered, according to a petition for disciplinary revocation filed with the state Supreme Court on March 14. The state bar requested Linder provide trust account records for 2016 but Linder failed to provide all of the documentation requested.

On Feb. 7, 2017, the bank alerted the state bar to a second overdraft, this time for $454.96, which Linder said resulted from a hold placed on an insurance company settlement.

A subsequent state bar audit found "a substantial shortage" remained in Linder's trust account, too little to satisfy liabilities owed to clients and third parties. The audit also determined the shortages were caused by Linder's transfer of client funds into his operating and personal accounts.

The audit lead to charges that Linder improperly used client funds for a purpose other than which they were intended, a violation of rules that regulate the state bar.

Linder agreed to reimburse the state bar's Clients' Security Fund for payments imposed as a result of his misconduct, as well as costs incurred in his discipline. He said he "is extremely remorseful for his misconduct", according to the petition.

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