Florida Record

Friday, April 10, 2020

West Palm Beach attorney faces suspension after allegedly mishandling clients' homeowner's claim


By Karen Kidd | Feb 6, 2020

Alka R. Sharma | fattorney.com

TALLAHASSEE — West Palm Beach attorney Alka R. Sharma faces suspension following a Jan. 16 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations she mishandled her clients' homeowner's claim and lied to them about it, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

The clients asked Sharma to represent them in a homeowner’s claim that already had been denied by their insurance carrier, according to the state bar's Jan. 31 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.

"Sharma failed to file a complaint but then told her clients she had," the announcement said. "Sharma gave false 'updates' for several years, eventually informing the clients they won a favorable judgment and showing them a final judgment purportedly entered in their case."

Sharm subsequently told the clients she was meeting with a company that wanted to buy their judgment for a reduced rate, allowing them to avoid the appellate process, according to the announcement.

"They discovered that the final judgment had been forged," the announcement said.

In its two-page order, the Supreme Court approved the uncontested referee's report before suspending Sharma for 18 months and ordered her to pay a little more than $1,281 in costs.

Sharma's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow her time to close out her practice and protect her existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order.

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 Sharma's suspension.

Sharma was admitted to the bar in Florida on Feb. 24, 2005, according to her profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Sharma's state bar profile.

The clients hired Sharma in September 2012, according to the consent judgment reached between Sharma and the state bar. The consent judgment also includes Sharma's conditional guilty plea.

After years of pretending to pursue their case, Sharma told her clients that judgment had been entered in their favor and showed them a final judgment entered against the insurance company, according to the consent judgment.

The clients discovered the judgment had been forged when they noted the case number was for an unrelated matter, according to the consent judgment.

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The Florida BarFlorida Supreme Court