A Florida woman thought she was divorced. She didn’t know her attorney was a forger

A former Jasper attorney has 22 counts of criminal charges over her head, two names by which she’s known and had 11 Florida Bar discipline cases open against her.

And one of the criminal cases involves a woman who, charging document say, found out she wasn’t divorced right as she prepared to get married again.

That’s “former attorney” because Brittany Loper, who was arrested as Brittany Cooper, applied for disciplinary revocation to make the Bar discipline cases disappear. The state Supreme Court accepted Loper’s application. So, the Bar cases go away but she’s essentially disbarred for five years. Loper can apply for readmission after Jan. 1, 2027.

Disciplinary revocation does nothing about any criminal charges arising from the actions in the discipline cases. So by 2027, Loper might still be dealing with the fallout from the 13 counts of grand theft, three counts of fraud/swindling under $20,000, two counts of forgery, two counts of uttering a forgery, one count of scheme to defraud under $20,000 and one count of petit theft.

The grand theft cases are a series of clients accused Loper, 33 and a member of the Florida Bar since 2013, of money for nothing. They say she faked doing work after taking their initial payments or just stopped communication.

But the first case in her disciplinary revocation application and one of the criminal cases concern forgery.

Releases that weren’t legal or didn’t happen

A couple hired Loper, while a Koberlein Law Group associate, to handle a private adoption. The child was born on Feb. 15, 2020, and the mother signed the consent waiver. Loper admits forging the name of notary public Jennifer Diaz and using Diaz’s notary stamp. Diaz worked as a notary with the firm and as Loper’s legal assistant.

Loper then “presented this document to the hospital to obtain the release of the baby.”

Brittany Loper arrested as Brittany Cooper on Aug. 26 under an out of county warrant.

Loper would be fired from Koberlein on May 5, 2020, Columbia County charging documents say. She’d been working for the firm since January 2019 during which time charging documents say a woman, “R.G.,” paid $2,000 up front to be represented by Loper in her divorce.

In March 2020, R.G. received a FedEx envelope with a “Final Judgment of the Dissolution of Marriage” signed by Columbia County Judge Mark Feagle on Dec. 16, 2019 and a Certificate of Service from Loper certifying that it was a true and correct copy of the final judgment.

By August 2021, R.G. was planning to get married again. She went to the Social Security Office to discuss a name change back to the maiden name so she could get a passport. The Social Security Office told R.G. she needed a certified copy of her divorce decree and she could get it online.

“When [R.G.] attempted to obtain this document, [R.G] was told that the divorce was never registered and that she needed to contact the county where it occurred,” the Columbia County charging documents said.

R.G. spoke with the Family Law/Juvenile Court Supervisor for the Clerk of Courts in Columbia County and sent her the final divorce judgment. The message back: you’re not divorced.

The charging documents say Fred Koberlein, head of the law firm, reached out to Feagle and learned what Feagle put in a sworn witness statement, that he never had a hearing on the case and he didn’t sign that final divorce order.

The case number given R.G. matched a petition for divorce that wasn’t filed until Jan. 31, 2020, a month after Feagle was supposed to have signed the final order. Feagle did sign an order dismissing that case in June 2021 “after the court found that [T.G., R.G.’s still-husband] was never served with the petition for dissolution of marriage.”

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