TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) – Tampa attorney Walter C. Little has been suspended indefinitely following an April 2 Florida Supreme Court order after he was sentenced in February for insider trading, a recent announcement by The Florida Bar said.
Little's suspension until further court order was effective 30 days from the date of the order to allow him time to close out his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order.
"Little pleaded guilty and was adjudicated guilty in federal court of conspiring to commit securities fraud/insider trading," the state bar said in its May 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "He was sentenced to 27 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, forfeiture of more than $452,000 and a $100 monetary fine."
Little was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Feb. 22 following his guilty plea in November to one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading, according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. In addition to his prison sentence, the district court also sentenced Little to three years of supervised released.
"In addition to trading on the information himself, Little also provided the information to Andrew Berke, his business associate and friend, who also traded on it and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal gains as well," the DOJ release said. "At Little's request, Berke subsequently kicked back portions of his own profits to Little through the use of fake legal invoices."
Little's sentencing came less than a year after he and Berke were arrested and brought before a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after they collectively made about $1 million in profits, according to a DOJ press release at the time of their arrest. The two were alleged to have used confidential information from clients to trade illegally.
In Florida, court orders are not final until after the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Little's suspension.
Little was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 7, 2001, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Little's state bar profile.