Gulf Breeze attorney Richard Michael Colbert has been disbarred following a May 11 Florida Supreme Court order after his guilty plea to 13 felonies including theft, embezzlement, misappropriation, money laundering, and bank and mail fraud.
The state court issued its order of disciplinary revocation without leave for Colbert to ever seek readmission, which is tantamount to permanent disbarment. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the supreme court's order June 29.
Colbert was admitted to the bar in Florida on May 13, 1987, according to his profile at the state bar website. Colbert had no other discipline for at least 10 years before the state bar prior to his indictment, according to his profile.
Colbert was indicted in June 2015 on allegations he signed and submitted a false settlement statement to a defunct bank to enable Lawrence Wright, a former builder, to obtain a loan, and while acting as an escrow agent for a different bank he embezzled and misapplied funds, according to a June 19, 2015 U.S. Department of Justice news release. Colbert also was accused in a series of financial transactions to launder embezzled funds. He was arrested June 19 and made his first appearance at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola the same day.
Colbert entered his guilty plea this past December, admitting to a variety of allegations, including fraudulently defrauding and obtaining money and/or property federally insured financial institutions, according to a Dec. 12 DOJ news release. A part of the scheme described in the release involved Colbert signing and submitting false HUD-1s.
On Dec. 19, Colbert was suspended until further following a state supreme court order announced by the state bar Jan. 31. The bar initiated contempt proceedings against Colbert on Feb. 20, alleging he had practiced law while suspended and had misrepresented that to a judge, all of which Colbert denied, according to the amended petition from disciplinary revocation that lead to the attorney's disbarment.
Colbert also admitted in the petition that his guilty plea is considered conclusive proof of guilt of the felonies, that the presumptive discipline is disbarment and it would be in his best interest and that of the state for him to agree to the disbarment without leave to reapply.