Jacksonville attorney Christopher Michael Ochoa has been suspended until further notice following an Sept. 19 Florida Supreme Court order over $1.25 million allegedly transferred into his client trust account for a business deal that he failed to return upon request.
The Florida State Bar filed a petition for emergency suspension against Ochoa on Sept. 4 alleging he appeared to be causing great public harm. In addition to the irregularities involving the money deposited into his trust account, Ochoa also allegedly solicited a client for loan modification/foreclosure rescue services and then abandoned the client, according to the petition.
Ochoa has failed to officially respond to or communicate with the Florida State Bar during its investigation, according to the petition.
The state supreme court's three-page order also directed Ochoa to immediately comply with and provide all documents and testimony required by the state bar as it completes an audit of his trust account.
The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order on Oct. 30. In Florida, court orders are not final until the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Ochoa's suspension.
Ochoa was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 20, 2011, according to his profile at the state bar website.
This past May, a registered Wyoming asset management company operating out of Los Angeles transferred $1.25 million into Ochoa's trust account to receive a bank instrument that would finance the company's projects, according to the petition.
In July, Ochoa and his partner, Russell Harold, indicated they had a new monetizer for the bank and that the transaction would be completed on or before Aug. 25. A company representative advised Ochoa "that the timing was unacceptable because their money had been tied up with them since May 8," the petition said.
The company representative demanded the money be returned, according to the petition. As of the date of the petition, "Ochoa has not offered any additional information or determinations as to what will happen or has happened with the transaction or with [the company's] money," the petition said. The company representative filed a complaint with the state bar Aug. 15.