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Dozens of former clients claim Tampa attorney stole thousands after shutting down law firm

A Tampa attorney who recently closed his business continued to come under fire Monday from former clients who said he took thousands of dollars from them and won’t refund their money.

Croce is the latest former client of Dennis Szafran to contact FOX 13 about her situation. She said she reached out to attorney Dennis Szafran in 2021 to help her maintain guardianship of her soon-to-be 18-year-old son, Vincent Croce.

Croce has a receipt showing she paid Szafran $3,800 in September. Less than a month later, Szafran shuttered his business. Croce said he never filed her case.

Clients claim Szafran stole thousands.

“I regret the fact that I ever looked him up and actually retained him as an attorney,” she told FOX 13, adding her son turned 18 last week, but the celebration was hardly what she envisioned. “To try to make it as happy as I could for him was so hard.”

Croce said she never received any notification that Szafran planned to close.

RELATED: Bay Area lawyer under investigation after shutting down business with unfinished cases, no refunds for clients

Other clients spoke with

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Florida Supreme Court Disciplines 19 Attorneys—Including a Former State Attorney

The Florida Supreme Court recently disciplined 19 attorneys, including a former state attorney, the Florida Bar Association announced on May 31.

Former State Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister received permanent disciplinary revocation, which involves agreeing to surrender his license rather than contesting the disciplinary charges, according to the association’s senior communications coordinator Leslie Smith.

Siegmeister pleaded guilty on Feb. 22 to four felonies—including conspiracy, extortion, fraud, and filing a false 2015 tax return, the first of three years for which that charge had been filed—while he was the elected prosecutor for a seven-county area, according to a Feb. 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville.

The former North Florida state attorney is facing a “maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit extortion and wire fraud, five years in federal prison for conspiring to use a facility of commerce for bribery and extortion, and three years in federal prison for filing a false tax return,” according to the office.

It added that Siegmeister had agreed to forfeit almost $519,000, along with more than 7,300 shares of Coca-Cola Company common stock.

The 53-year-old Republican was a state attorney from 2013 to 2019, when he

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