St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Lawyer facing charge is suspended

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 17, 2000

CLEARWATER -- The Florida Supreme Court has suspended a Clearwater lawyer who is facing a criminal charge.

The court suspended Thomas Clayton Little for 90 days Thursday, approving a Florida Bar report about the lawyer.

Denis de Vlaming, Little's attorney, said Little is closing his law practice, located on NE Coachman Road, and has made restitution.

Little, 47, was arrested on a warrant in July 1997 and charged with scheming to defraud. He had pleaded innocent. No trial date has been set.

He was accused of being involved in a scheme with David Whitten of Port Richey to defraud a Clearwater couple out of money they paid for a house.

Whitten, 60, was arrested and charged with grand theft and scheme to defraud. He also has pleaded innocent.

According to court records, Whitten contracted with David and Patricia Bright to sell them his house near Palm Harbor for $227,000. The couple paid him $177,000 to pay off a mortgage before the closing and agreed to pay the remainder after closing. Little handled the closing in July 1994.

The Brights later learned that the mortgage was not paid off. Little is accused of helping Whitten and preparing fake documents.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.