TALLAHASSEE — Miami Beach attorney Tonia Marie Troutwine will be publicly reprimanded following a Florida Supreme Court order filed earlier this spring after she reportedly tried i to improperly assume power of attorney over an elderly neighbor in 2014, according to the Florida Bar Association.
According to the bar's May 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order, "Troutwine prepared a power of attorney to allow her to take over the financial and legal affairs of an elderly neighbor who was ill and suffering from dementia without the woman's consent," Troutwine was dishonest in representations she made to a law enforcement officer and she also caused a notary to lose his license by knowingly giving him incorrect information about Florida law as it pertains to notaries."
In Florida, court orders are not final until after the time period to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of Troutwine's reprimand.
Troutwine was admitted to the bar in Florida Dec. 11, 2003, according to her profile at the state bar website.
Troutwine allegedly prepared the power of attorney, which she had "an elderly gentleman" residing in a nursing home sign, authorizing her to handle his sister's financial and legal affairs, according to the state bar's formal complaint. Troutwine "and another lady" then took the power of attorney to a notary public for notarization.
When the notary public balked, saying the elderly gentleman needed to be present, Troutwine replied "that the notary laws had changed in Florida" and told the notary he could speak with the elderly gentleman via phone to satisfy the notary requirements, the complaint said.
The notary spoke with someone over the phone, though he "did not know whether the person to whom he was speaking to was the person whom he purported to be" and then notarized the power of attorney, the complaint said.
Law enforcement, following an investigation, declined to enforce the power of attorney.
In her answer, Troutwine denied the formal charges, saying at least some were incomplete and misleading.