2 lawyers who helped 1 client break the law are convicted in unrelated cases
Two different attorneys who at one time represented a convicted Florida con man have been convicted in unrelated cases of helping him break the law.
The latest is attorney Marlon Smikle, 29, who last week pleaded no contest to conspiring to smuggle a cellphone to inmate Donald Heflin Mitchell Jr. at the Seminole County jail, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Smikle had been representing Mitchell in an auto-theft case.
Smikle, who had been scheduled to go to trial in his own case this week, was sentenced to two years of probation and agreed to a one-year suspension from practicing law, the newspaper article says. He had previously maintained his innocence but declined to comment at the time of his plea.
Court records allege that the attorney bought an iPhone 6 earlier this year and spent seven minutes with Mitchell at the jail later the same day. Mitchell was subsequently found in his cell with an iPhone 6 that had the same serial number as the one Smikle purchased, authorities said.
A week before their meeting at the jail, Mitchell told Smikle, in a recorded phone conversation: “You have to listen, we need a no-contract six,” court records state. Mitchell allegedly asked for a phone charger, too.
Meanwhile, another lawyer who earlier represented Mitchell was sentenced last year to a 15-month federal prison term after pleading guilty to mail fraud.
Amy Elizabeth Newby, 42 at the time of sentencing, helped Mitchell pass himself off as a wealthy, well-educated investor in order to persuade others to place their funds with him, according to a 2014 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida. Part of his aura involved driving luxury cars such as a Bentley, and Newby helped Mitchell obtain vehicles by fraud, the feds said.
Mitchell pleaded guilty earlier to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and got 15 years.
Florida Times-Union: “Police say Jacksonville con man wowed investors with luxury cars”
WJXT: “Attorney, former client sentenced for investment scheme”
Orlando Sentinel: “Lake Mary attorney arrested, accused of smuggling iPhone into jail”