It says he used his power as an attorney to falsify mortgage forms
The Florida Bar is trying to freeze a Jacksonville lawyer's finances and suspend his license as he answers to an organized fraud charge after authorities unraveled a mortgage scheme.
Jay Clifton Halsema, 38, has been held in the Duval County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail since his Oct. 20 arrest.
In court records, the State Attorney's Office says Halsema had worked on the financing paperwork for at least two fraudulent real estate deals worth a total of $1.7 million.
Friday, the Bar filed an eight-page petition in the Florida Supreme Court that, if granted, would prevent him from dipping into any accounts related to his law practice and would suspend his law license.
Court papers filed to support the Bar's argument say Halsema used his leverage and savvy as an attorney to falsify mortgage papers.
The scheme dates to at least 2005, in which he stuck a former client with a nearly $290,000 debt on a Ponte Vedra Beach condo.
Duval County court records show he qualified to be represented by a public defender. In November 2008, Halsema declared bankruptcy.
The Florida Bankers Association put out an alert last month for anyone who may have done business with Halsema.
Bar records show that he has amassed a number of complaints, but has not responded to any of them. The Supreme Court petition also alleges that Halsema had forged his wife's signature on the financing paperwork for property on Greenridge Road in Jacksonville the couple bought in 2005.
By David Hunt, email@example.com, (904) 359-4025