Last week, the Supreme Court of Florida held Fort Lauderdale attorney George Castrataro in contempt of court.
Less than 48 hours later, the Florida Bar went back to the Supreme Court and asked its judges to issue an “Emergency Order of Suspension.”
The Florida Bar’s new case asserts that Castrataro’s alleged misconduct is “causing great public harm.”
A Florida Bar’s auditor concluded there were “multiple acts involving the misappropriation of at least $128,407.77 in client funds.”
Originally, Castrataro was suspended but given thirty days to wind down his law practice “to protect the best interests of his clients.” Not anymore.
The Bar’s new and much more serious claims against Castrataro accuse him of purposely “misappropriating estate trust funds for his own use.”
The new report, naming a host of local victims, allege that Castrataro willfully misappropriated funds from his trust account.
In some instances, they were never returned or distributed to the intended beneficiaries.
Castrataro was first cited for contempt by the Supreme Court because he failed to respond to the Florida Bar’s local grievance committee’s request for records to investigate Bar complaints against him.
After Castrataro ignored those requests, the Florida subpoenaed the records on their own. The new charges follow their auditor’s review of those records.
Florida Supreme Court rulings are typically released on Thursday mornings, but in case of public interest, may be published sooner.