Florida Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Venice attorney disbarred following arrest on fraud charges

By Karen Kidd | Sep 8, 2017

Venice attorney Adam Russell Miller has been disbarred following an Aug. 10 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he misappropriated client funds for which he was arrested earlier this summer, according to a recent Florida State Bar announcement.

Miller was arrested on fraud charges in June following a Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation joint investigation alleging he embezzled more than $700,000 from at least four of his clients’ trust accounts. Charges against Miller included exploitation of the elderly for more than $50,000, schemes to defraud more than $50,000 and a scheme to defraud between $20,000 and $40,000.

Miller's disbarment was effective immediately, according to the state Supreme Court's order granting disciplinary revocation. In Florida disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.

Miller also was ordered to pay the state bar's costs of $3,269.04.

The state bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order Aug. 31.

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.

Miller was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 3, 2004, according to his profile at the state bar website. Miller has had no other discipline before the state bar for at least 10 years, according to his profile.

The state bar began its investigation that ultimately lead to Miller's disbarment after receiving a bank notice of insufficient funds in his Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA), according to the state bar's petition for disciplinary revocation submitted to the high court in July. The state bar filed a petition for emergency suspension June 13 after Miller allegedly was found to have charged one client $126,000 in fees "but did not furnish any proof of the propriety of his fee," the petition for disciplinary revocation said.

Miller also was alleged to have charged the same client an additional fee of at least $65,000 by depositing the client's funds into several different personal accounts but he couldn't provide evidence the money was for his fees or was paid to the client's beneficiaries, according to the petition for disciplinary revocation.

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Florida Supreme Court The Florida Bar