Aventura attorney in Haitian earthquake temporary housing scheme agrees to disbarment

By Karen Kidd | Dec 2, 2017

Aventura attorney Ronny Jay Halperin, who in 2012 was an alleged

Aventura attorney Ronny Jay Halperin, who in 2012 was an alleged "cohort" behind an illegal scheme that made more than $3.5 million capitalizing on the temporary housing needs of Haitian earthquake victims, has agreed to his own disbarment following an Oct. 26 Florida Supreme Court order.

The state court granted Halperin's uncontested petition for disciplinary revocation, which allows him to apply for readmission after five years, according to the high court's two-page order. Though still a Florida State Bar member, Halperin has been retired since June 2015, which made his disciplinary revocation effective immediately, according to the order. The high court also ordered Halperin to pay $1,250 in costs.

The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order on Nov. 21.

In Florida, disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disbarred attorneys in Florida who later apply for readmission must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Halperin was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 21, 1990, according to his profile at the state bar website.

By the time Halperin filed his petition for disciplinary revocation in July, he had already agreed to enter a plea of guilty in a criminal proceeding against him in the Supreme Court for the city of New York. Halperin agreed in that proceeding to plead guilty to criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, both first degree felonies, according to his petition. His sentencing in that proceeding was expected at a later date.

In May 2012, Halperin was one of "10 cohorts" of Kevin Sepe, then of Miami, charged in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that alleged violations of securities registration and fraud laws, according to an SEC news release issued at the time. The SEC amended its complaint August 2012.

The SEC alleged during first quarter of 2010, Recycle Tech, its owner Ryan Gonzalez, Sepe, Halperin and the others operated a so-called "pump-and-dump" scheme to sell unregistered company stock shares. The group wanted to cash in on expected increased temporary housing demand following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, according to the SEC's amended complaint.

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