Auditor Reveals Financial Misconduct: Miami Attorney Suspended Over $10,000
Image By: Miami Herald

Auditor Reveals Financial Misconduct: Miami Attorney Suspended Over $10,000

A Miami lawyer, Hector Acosta Carrillo, got into trouble when a Florida Bar auditor found something suspicious with $10,040 of client funds. As a result, he received an emergency suspension granted by the state Supreme Court.

His professional timeout started 30 days after this decision. Shortly after, Benjamin Geffon filed documents to rename the Acosta Geffon law firm to “Geffon Law.”

In the report that accompanied the Bar’s request for suspension, Florida Bar auditor Matthew Herdecker stated, “It is my professional opinion that [Acosta] was not in substantial compliance with the bar’s rules governing trust account. It is also my professional opinion that [Acosta] misappropriated client funds and used them for his own benefit.”

The Florida Bar sent Herdecker to check Acosta’s trust account after a $3,500 check bounced on April 20. The check, dated March 5, was intended for Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine as part of a personal injury settlement.

Typically, lawyers get settlement money, place it in their trust accounts, and then distribute it to the client and medical providers after deducting their fees.

Acosta wrote back to the Bar on May saying, “I was not notified by the provider nor the bank or else I would have corrected this immediately. I must have made a clerical error to cause this returned check. Please forgive my oversight and I have immediately corrected this mistake with the provider.”

Acosta sent a new $3,500 check on May 9.

However, Herdecker found that the Acosta Legal PLLC trust account didn’t have enough money between Feb. 27, 2023, and May 30, 2023, with shortfalls ranging from $250.00 to $10,040.00. On May 8, the day before Acosta sent the second check to Quantum, the account should’ve had at least $10,097 to cover payments of $3,500 to Quantum, $6,000 to another medical provider, and $597 to Acosta’s client. Instead, the balance was only $57, falling short by $10,040.

Herdecker’s analysis revealed that the balance of $57 remained constant from April 6 to May 9, including when the first $3,500 check to Quantum bounced. A $3,500 deposit on May 9 covered the second $3,500 check to Quantum.

Herdecker also pointed out 15 trust account withdrawals totaling $4,980 from February to April, unexplained by the journal Acosta sent to the Bar. Additionally, there was a transfer of $5,115 from the trust account to Acosta’s personal Chase checking account.

Although the Bar claimed Acosta used the law firm’s operating account to pay $6,000 to the other medical provider and $597 to the client, the trust account shortages still violated Florida Bar rules.

profile
With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.