Suspended Daytona Beach attorney under emergency suspension following alleged misappropriation

By Karen Kidd | May 6, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Already indefinitely suspended Daytona Beach attorney Diego Handel was placed under an emergency suspension following a March 12 Florida Supreme Court order over misappropriation allegations, according to a recent announcement by the Florida Bar.

"Handel was suspended and his law office trust account frozen after a Florida Bar audit showed he misappropriated client funds," the state bar said in its March 29 announcement of the discipline and the state Supreme Court's order. "He was previously suspended indefinitely by a Dec. 10, 2018, Supreme Court order for failing to fully comply with the Florida Bar's subpoena for his law office trust account records. He also failed to maintain his trust account in substantial compliance with the rules regulating the Florida Bar."

In its four-page order, the state Supreme Court accepted the state bar's 29-page petition for emergency suspension and suspended Handel until further court order. Handel already was suspended, so this suspension was effective immediately.

The conditions of the emergency suspension included the requirement that Handel immediately provide "all documents and testimony" pursuant to a state bar subpoena in its ongoing trust account audit.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective dates of Handel's suspensions.

Handel was admitted to the bar in Florida on Jan. 23, 1984, according to his profile at the state bar website.

Handel was suspended in December 2018 following a state Supreme Court order until he produced his trust account records. The effective date of that suspension was Jan. 9, 2019.

The day prior, Handel provided the state bar with partial trust records, incomplete bank statements, incomplete deposit slips and other documents but failed to provide all that had been subpoenaed, according to the state bar's petition.

"To date, Handel remains suspended due to his failure to comply fully with the bar’s subpoena for his trust account records," the petition said.

The bar's investigation found Handel misappropriated client funds from his trust account for business expenses, "his personal benefit and for the benefit of others," the petition said.

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