Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Convicted former City of Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur gets a new lawyer...

Veldora Arthur the former City of Miami assistant fire chief that was federally convicted of several counts of mail and wire fraud resulting from a massive mortgage fraud scheme has replaced the attorney who represented her during trial, Larry Handfield, with a new attorney for the sentencing phase of her case.  Her new attorney, Bruce Lehr, is a heavyweight in the criminal defense world down here in South Florida, here's the motion for substitution of counsel...

Substitution of Counsel for Sentencing Veldora Arthur

And her former attorneys subsequent withdrawal from the case...

Larry Handfield Motion to Withdraw Veldora Arthur

I have to wonder what caused Veldora to make this move, doesn't it seem like too little too late?  Considering what was at stake, why didn't she hire a criminal defense powerhouse like Lehr before the trial?  After all Mr. Lehr most recently represented attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt who was a named partner in convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's former law firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler,  and managed to keep him out of jail for the last couple of years, in fact the feds haven't even charged him yet and he's managed to keep his law license!   Isn't this the guy you'd want on your side from the get go?  

Another thing to consider is the enormous amount of money that Veldora has spent to date defending herself, her former attorney, Larry Handfield, told several of my friends that he'd collected a $150,000 flat fee from Veldora for his representation and remember, that's in addition to what she spent with the other attorney that represented her, Herbert Walker.  The question that begs to be asked is where does a City of Miami firefighter come up with what seems to be easily in excess of $200k in attorneys fees?  What makes this even worse is that despite spending a small fortune the cornerstone of the defense teams strategy according to the government was...
Essentially, defense counsel will use the expert to attempt to have the jury impute, infer or assume that Arthur herself is one of these people with a mortgage-broker license who allegedly does not know very much about anything pertaining to mortgages, loan applications, and closing-related documents. 

Is this the best her defense "dream team" could come up with?  She didn't know about anything that was going on despite the fact that she was a licensed mortgage broker herself?  Isn't this defense just another permutation of the "dog ate my homework" excuse?  Is that the best $200k can buy you these days?  If that's the case, I'd save my money and defend myself, thank you very much!


  1. This is attorney number four .
    Is it common practice to hire someone for just the sentencing?
    Will there be another hire for an appeal?

  2. Is Veldora Arthur still getting paid $25,000 per month in pay and benefits? Are the taxpayers still being forced to pay this City of Miami Fire Department employee now that everyone knows she is guilty?