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Friday, August 23, 2019

Golden Beach attorney disbarred for allegedly misappropriating more than $1M


By Karen Kidd | Dec 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — Suspended Golden Beach attorney Jeremy W. Alters has been disbarred following a Nov. 21 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he misappropriated more than $1 million from his law firm's trust accounts in 2010, according to a recent announcement by the Florida Bar.

"Alters engaged in dishonest conduct by misusing client funds," the state bar said in its Nov. 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court order. "He violated Bar Rules governing the safekeeping of property and the application of trust funds or property to specific purposes."

Alters is already suspended, which means his disbarment was effective immediately, according to the Supreme Court's 30-page opinion. The high court also ordered Alters to pay more than $305,000 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Alters' disbarment.

Attorneys disbarred in the state generally may not reapply for admission for five years and even then they must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Alters was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 22, 1999, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Alters' state bar profile.

This past May, Alters, whose legal address then was in Dania Beach, was indefinitely suspended following a Florida Supreme Court order over misappropriation allegations for which he had been suspended nearly seven years prior.

"There is no question in this case that Alters' conduct in managing the trust account was negligent at best," the Supreme Court's 30-page opinion said. "There is unrefuted evidence that at least ten improper transfers from the firm's trust account were applied to cover operating account checks issued to Alters and deposited into his personal bank account, for which there would have been insufficient funds in the operating account without the improper transfers."

Alters failed to actively manage the trust account or implement proper accounting procedures, according to the opinion.

"Instead, through the improper transfers, Alters replenished the firm's operating account and kept the firm afloat despite severe financial troubles," the opinion said.

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