U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer to join Holland & Knight

Wifredo Ferrer
Wifredo Ferrer

Wifredo A. Ferrer, the outgoing U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, has accepted a position as head of the Global Compliance and Investigations team at the international law firm Holland & Knight.

The move, announced in a press release Wednesday, will put Ferrer in charge of corporate compliance and government investigations for the firm’s white-collar defense division.

Company officials said Ferrer, who with seven years as U.S. Attorney was the South Florida office’s longest-serving top prosecutor since the 1970s, will focus on both domestic and international clients.

“Over my many years in the South Florida community, I’ve been very impressed by the caliber and professionalism of Holland & Knight attorneys, many of whom I count as friends,” Ferrer aid in the news release. “The firm has an outstanding reputation in the profession and also embodies a culture that is deeply committed to giving back to the community. I look forward to contributing to its continued success.”

Ferrer will work at the firm’s Miami office, one of its 27 branches worldwide.

Former Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd, who heads Holland & Knight’s West Palm Beach office, attributed Ferrer’s move in part to an opportunity to reunite with the head of the firm’s litigation section, John Hogan.

Ferrer previously worked with Hogan at the Department of Justice while Mr. Hogan was chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

“I think it’s great to have Willy as part of the the team,” Shepherd said, later adding: “He’s a real trial attorney, both from the county attorney’s office in Miami-Dade and as Assistant U.S. Attorney, so he brings new depth to an already strong national team.”

Trial delayed for alleged fake teen doc Malachi Love-Robinson

Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016. The teen is accused of posing as a doctor, operating New Birth New Life Medical Center in West Palm Beach.  (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016. The teen is accused of posing as a doctor, operating New Birth New Life Medical Center in West Palm Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A judge on Monday agreed to delay the upcoming trial of Malachi Love-Robinson, the now 19-year-old accused of pretending to be a doctor and stealing money from at least one patient who visited his West Palm Beach practice.

Love-Robinson case was expected to go to trial next month, but Circuit Judge Krista Marx on Monday agreed to postpone the case until November – over prosecutors’ objections – so Love-Robinson’s attorney Leonard Feuer can pursue the viability of an insanity defense.

In a request filed last month, Feuer said the results of a court-ordered mental health evaluation for Love-Robinson led him to explore the option of forming a defense surrounding the teen’s mental state.

Marx on Monday also agreed to declare Love-Robinson indigent for court costs, which means the state will pay the nearly $1,500 cost of getting his personal medical records from St. Mary’s Hospital and for mental health experts to testify on his behalf.

According to court records, Love-Robinson’s family has been paying for him to undergo mental health treatment since his arrest in February, when a narcotics task force raided his West Palm Beach holistic medicine practice after he treated an undercover officer posing as a patient.

He was later rearrested on charges he allegedly forged a patient’s checks to pay towards a  car and other bills.

Love-Robinson earlier this year turned down a three-year prison plea offer. He faces a minimum eight years in prison if convicted of 10 charges that include practicing medicine without a license, forgery and grand theft from a person 65 years of age or older.

Malachi Love-Robinson, accused fake teen doctor, gets plea offer

Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016. The teen is accused of posing as a doctor, operating New Birth New Life Medical Center in West Palm Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Malachi Love-Robinson leaves court after a hearing Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016. The teen is accused of posing as a doctor, operating New Birth New Life Medical Center in West Palm Beach. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Malachi Love Robinson, the teen arrested earlier this year for allegedly impersonating a doctor, was in court for a brief hearing Wednesday morning.

Assistant State Attorney Mike Rachel told Circuit Judge Krista Marx that he has offered Love-Robinson a 3-year prison, 5-year probation plea offer. Under criminal sentencing guidelines, Rachel told Marx, faces a recommended eight-year sentence if convicted of

Marx set a tentative trial date has been set for July, and set the case for a plea conference a month earlier in case Love-Robinson decides to take the deal.

His attorney, Andrew Stine, told Marx he needed at least 60 days to be ready for trial.

Love-Robinson was thrust into the spotlight and given national media attention — with appearances on “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show among others — after the state claimed he faked his medical licenses and posed as a doctor to patients.

He was first arrested Feb. 16 after an armed narcotics task force raided his alternative medicine practice, in a West Palm Beach medical building, after he gave medical advice to an undercover officer, officials said.

Love-Robinson was released from jail on $21,000 bond following the arrest. He went on to speak with several media outlets, including The Palm Beach Post, and denied all wrongdoing.

“I never pretended to be a medical doctor,” Love-Robinson said in February, adding that he referred to himself as “Doctor” because of his Ph.D. “Every person I met knew that my practice was for holistic medicine.”

Love-Robinson’s Ph.D. was from Universal Life Church Seminary, an online institution, according to documents released by the Florida Department of Health. According to the seminary’s website, anyone can buy a doctorate in divinity for $29.95, the same price as bachelor’s or a master’s of divinity degree.

In addition to the charges surrounding his alternative medicine practice, Love-Robinson also faces charges he stole more than $35,000 from a patient.