A Miami and Orlando attorney suspended after clients say he ‘misappropriated’ $57,000

·4 min read
The Florida Bar

Accusations of misappropriated funds — $50,000 in one transaction that allegedly involved his wife — and ghosting the Florida Bar after five clients filed grievances earned Miami attorney Robert Pereda an emergency suspension that goes into effect July 17.

The registered number for Pereda’s Rob Law firm office in Orlando’s Celebration area is disconnected. His LinkedIn page says he’s one of the founders of Miami Bankruptcy Group, but that firm’s website doesn’t list him as an attorney nor is he in the staff photo.

Rob Law’s address listed with the Florida Bar and state corporation records, 1420 Celebration Blvd., Suite 200, now also appears in state records as the address of the Foundation for Empowerment & Enlightenment via Literature & Education, registered Nov. 17, 2021. Pereda is listed as the still-active corporation’s chief executive officer. Pereda’s wife, Zsa Zsa Pereda, is the chief operating officer. An Alexander Acosta from Coral Gables is listed as the chief financial officer.

What happened to the $50,000?

Enrique Valcarcel told the Florida Bar he met in August with both Peredas about negotiating the sale of a South Miami-Dade home in foreclosure at 10705 SW 138th St., owned by Sol Wireless Group. Valcarcel was representing the interests of Sol president Carlos Pino.

Valcarcel said Robert Pereda told him the lender in question wanted documentation that Pino didn’t have easily available. So Zsa Zsa Pereda, Valcarcel said, “requested $50,000.00 from him as a ‘good faith’ deposit to show the lender in order to obtain more time to resolve Mr. Pino’s and Sol Wireless Group’s foreclosure matter.”

On Sept. 7, Valcarcel transferred $50,000 into Rob Law’s Chase Bank account.

Valcarcel said after several failed meetings with Pereda — “he always had an excuse to miss previous appointments and he always had a family member hospitalized” — he asked for the $50,000 back. Pereda told him he would get it to him after the closing or when the lender received the property.

Valcarcel said he didn’t see Pereda again.

A Florida Bar examination of the Rob Law trust account said that $50,000 left the account from Sept. 13 through Nov. 8 via online transfers to Rob Law’s operating account and Pereda’s personal account. Out of the latter account, he paid FPL, Publix, AC Auto Repair and shopped on Apple.com and sent Zelle payments.

By Nov. 12, bank records included with the suspension request show Rob Law’s trust account balance was zero, the operating account balance was $113.10 underwater and Pereda’s personal account was $574.03 in the red.

A subpoena in March for trust account records since January 2021 has been ignored.

Money for nothing?

When Valcarcel went by Pereda’s office in February, eight days after another lawyer handled the matter and the Southwest 138th Street house was sold, he saw nothing inside. But, he did see a note on the door from Juana Castellanos, claiming Pereda had scammed her.

Castellanos ($2,000), Georgette Livia ($500), Oscar Zapata ($2,000) and Ramses Brito Diaz ($2,500) said they paid Robert Pereda to handle their bankruptcy cases, but he ignored their cases and ignored them. The Florida Bar said Pereda ignored its requests for response to the four grievances.

A little bankruptcy work for one client — his wife

Online Miami-Dade property records say Zsa Zsa Pereda sold their four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence in Juniper at the Hammocks to Ohio company Advanced Basement Products in February. The price: $122,000.

Court documents from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge A. Jay Cristol included with the emergency suspension petition indicates this was a foreclosure sale. Cristol wrote Pereda filed three prior cases on behalf of his wife, all of which had “filing deficiencies.” Pereda didn’t fix those or pay filing fees owed before the couple pulled a joint no-show for a May 19 hearing.

Cristol referred Pereda to the Bar for investigation into client abandonment and “the serial bare-bones bankruptcy filings on behalf of this Debtor, presumably Mr. Pereda’s spouse, abusing the process and the laws and stopping foreclosure sales on multiple occasions.”

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