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Coconut Creek lawyer charged with grand theft

Nicholas Steffens is accused of using clients' funds to cover his expenses

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former Borward County School Board candidate was out on bond Wednesday, after he turned himself in on four counts of grand theft. He was accused of misappropriating client's funds.

Coconut Creek lawyer Nicholas Steffens, who represented famed New York crime boss John Gotti's adopted son in a civil case in Palm Beach County, was out on a $200,000 bond.

During a Florida Bar's investigation into Steffens' financial dealings, Florida Bar auditor Carl Totaro said he produced fraudulent account statements to hide that he had used the money to cover insurance premiums, restaurant bills, store purchases and rent.

Steffans was first accused of misappropriating about $190,000 that belonged to Adjustafax Investigations and Avelo Mortgage in a 2012 foreclosure case on a property in Broward. This came to the surface when Bin Song Li purchased the property.

Steffens used other clients' funds to pay Avelo Mortgage March 3rd, according to Totaro.

TROUBLED DEALINGS

In an unrelated case, Steffens accused Gotti's godson Lewis Kasman of stealing a check and cashing it. Kasman told Gossip Extra's Jose Lambiet earlier this year that he had been helping him out "with all kinds of bills."

In 2012, he was one of five candidates vying for the Broward County School Board's district four seat, which covered areas of Margate, Coral Springs, Tamarac and Parkland. He ran despite a 2011 suspension.

Steffens was admitted to the Florida Bar April 21, 2005 and has been reprimanded several times. In 2013,  he was accused of not complying with a 2011 suspension order to return about $5,000 in fees to a client that he failed to properly represent in a mortgage audit.

Steffens also refused to respond to several Florida Bar inquiries, records show. The Florida Bar filed a petition for emergency suspension Sept. 16 and the Supreme Court of Florida approved it Sept. 18. 

Steffens did not respond to a request for comment.

CORRECTION: Attorney Joel M. Weissman represented Lewis Kasman on his divorce. and not Nicholas Steffens, as this story previously reported.

Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime