Florida Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sarasota attorney suspended after more than $60,000 found disbursed from trust account

By Karen Kidd | Aug 25, 2017

Sarasota attorney John Pangallo has been suspended for three years following a May 25 Florida Supreme Court order after the Florida State Bar allegedly found more than $60,000 had been disbursed over about five years from his trust account, according to a recent state bar report.

None of the disbursed funds could be attributed to a client, according to the state bar report of Pangallo's discipline and the bar's petition for emergency suspension filed prior to the high court's order. Pangallo's suspension was effective immediately, according to the state bar report of the attorney's discipline issued July 31.

Upon reinstatement, Pangallo will be under three years' probation, must attend the state bar's ethics school and pay costs totaling $4,791.50, according to the state court order.

Pangallo replaced the missing trust funds between 2011 and 2016, the trust account was fully funded July 18, 2016 and no clients or third parties complained, according to a referee's report filed with the court. Pangallo was "very cooperative with the bar's investigation," the referee's report said.

In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires.

Pangallo was admitted to the bar in Florida on April 24, 1991, according to his profile at the state bar website. Pangallo has had no other discipline before the state bar for at least 10 years, according to his profile.

The state bar audited Pangallo's trust account for the period from May 1, 2010, to Oct. 31, 2016, according to the referee's report. "The audit revealed that [Pangallo] had shortages in his trust account as a result of him using the funds for his own purposes," the report said.

Pangallo’s individual trust account ledger reflected a negative balance from April, 2011 to July, 2016, except for a nine-day period in February 2016, according to the state bar's petition. Most of the funds, $30,773.28 in 24 disbursements, went directly to Pangallo, in addition to $5,300 made in four withdrawals from the account, according to the state bar's petition.

The state bar's investigation also found 12 disbursements totaling $22,477.50 had been made to third parties and two disbursements totaling $1,950 were made to private individuals, according to the state bar's petition.

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