TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — South Miami attorney Rene Julian Garcia Jr is under emergency suspension until further order following a Feb. 14 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations of misappropriation, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Garcia appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client trust funds," the state bar said in its March 27 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. The state bar's announcement cited the petition for emergency suspension filed with the court.
Elam's emergency suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the Supreme Court's three-page order, according to the state bar's announcement. The state Supreme Court's three-page order is not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Garcia's suspension.
Garcia was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 23, 2005, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Garcia's state bar profile.
In addition to its Feb. 14 order, the high court also issued an order March 9 entering a default against Garcia, who had not filed an answer to the state bar's petition for emergency suspension "or any other paper work required". The order found Garcia guilty by default of the allegations in the state bar's petition for emergency suspension and announced a pending hearing to determine appropriate discipline.
The state bar initiated its inquiry after a check for almost $44,255 written on Garcia's trust account bounced last June, according to the petition for emergency suspension. Garcia initially informed the state bar that the bounce resulted from bank error because he stopped payment on that check and that the funds were in another account "being held in connection with a real estate file which had since become the subject of another grievance," the petition said.
That grievance had been filed the previous January by the personal representative of an estate for which Garcia served as a closing agent on a condominium sale.
Following its investigation, the bar alleged Garcia violated professional conduct rules, including those related to dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, trust accounts and trust account records and procedures, according to the petition.