Justia Badge
Thumbtack Top Pro - 2016
Best of 2016 Thumbtack
The National Trial Lawyers - Top 40 under 40
The National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Expertise - Best DUI Lawyers in Tampa 2020
Expertise - Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Tampa 2020
Expertise - Best DUI Lawyers in Tampa 2021

Fake Florida Lawyers Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

A little over a year ago, a group of South Florida men were arrested for operating multiple illegitimate foreclosure law firms across the state. They preyed upon young lawyers with Craigslist ads, using their bar numbers and other information to provide a front for the operation. Adam Forman and Joseph Hilton (Starr), along with several other men, operated multiple false law firms across the state of Florida. The Asset Protection Law Firm, Liberty Law Group, P.A., Business Administration Growth LLC, Legal Referral Services of Florida II LLC, Galler Lehman Law, Consumer Legal Advocates Inc, Consumer Legal Advocates II LLC, and Oracle Marketing Co. are among the illegitimate firms created by Forman and Hilton since 2013.

The group, led by Forman and Hilton, used these firms to deceive homeowners into hefty high legal fees for services that were not conducted by licensed attorneys. In fact, none of the men associated with these firms are or were licensed attorneys. These fake law firms operated under the guise of assisting homeowners, but the reality is that many have lost or will lose their homes as a result of false information and representation.

Not only this, but the careers of several young lawyers were placed in jeopardy. New lawyers unwittingly signed up for part-time jobs with the false firms only to have their information stolen and used to commit crimes. Homeowners believed these lawyers were representing them, when the lawyers had no idea that these clients even existed. Their names, bar numbers, and other identifying information were used on retainer agreements, pleadings, and letterheads. When a lawyer would suspect foul play and quit the firm, Forman and Hilton would simply seek out another newly barred attorney to scam.

The false firms would direct clients not to pay their mortgages and instead, to pay them. They directed clients to not speak with lenders and disregard any letters or other communications, claiming that the firm would handle it all. It is alleged that Forman, Hilton, and their associates would verbally harass and threaten clients who stopped making payments or who expressed displeasure with their case. Homeowners represented by any one of the firms received false representation while their actual legal problems were ignored.

Detectives tracked down hundreds of clients who were scammed by Forman and Hilton, ranging throughout Florida and up to New Jersey and Ohio. In November 2017, Hilton and Forman were sentenced in federal court. They each received a sentence of five years and three months in prison. Hilton was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution—Forman’s restitution amount has yet to be determined. Victor Spagnuolo, another man involved in the scheme, was in charge of hiring new attorneys and stealing their information. He was recently charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, aggravated wire fraud, and identity theft. He has yet to be sentenced.

Call Pallegar Law, P.A. Today

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. Call 813-444-3912 for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
Pallegar Law, always put my family first, their team always explained things in full detail, and got the very best results possible. They genuinely care. Our family will forever be grateful. Thank you. Dennis
He took me on and from the word go communicated everything in a timely and professional fashion about how everything is going to be played it; and then delivered word for word. The best part about them apart from their professionalism and efficiency would have to be their honesty which lets you entrust them, which in today's day and age is a rare virtue. Hemant
Excellent communication skills between the staff and client. I always felt I was in the know as to what to expect next. Ajay was up front on possible outcomes of the case and did not promise unrealistic results. Hope to not need them again, but definitely would recommend them. Steve
Ajay made me feel like I was the only case he had, and that he put all of his time making sure I was properly defended. Thanks to Ajay professionalism and attention to detail all my charges were dropped. I one hundred percent recommend Ajay Pallegar as your next defense lawyer. Eric