Tell them you don't care about thier hard luck story, and if you were them you'd beg borrow or steal the $10,000 to return to you. That when you hang up the phone you'll be calling the Florida Bar Association and the State Attorney Generals office and filing formal complaints and that unless you get your $10,000 wired to your bank within the next 24 hours you will do everything within your power to close them down and ruin their reputation.Don't tell them you've already started the process.
Next call the State Bar Association 850/561-5600 and file a complaint.
If your Realtor recommended you to this attorney, then call them and let them know that they better talk to the attorney they recommended to you and between them they better have your $10,000 wired to you within 24 hours and that if you don't have it in your account their going to wish they never met you as you're going to ruin them. Tell them your next call is to the Florida State Real Estate Commission and the State Attorney Generals office and that you're filing a formal complaint against them, their real estate company and the attorney and his escrow company. Florida State Real Estate Commission - 850.487.1395 If the Realtor did not recommend this attorney to you then skip this portion as they had nothing to do with it.
Then follow through. This is extremely serious stuff and personally as a professional when I hear about this type of thing my blood boils.
Next find a new attorney to represent you and when you meet with the condo board simply tell them the truth,
I am truly sorry you find yourself in this predicament, do not waste any time in taking the above steps, While it's possible the attorney wasn't actively involved, I tend to doubt it and regardless they are 100% responsible for their employees and for setting up the proper security measures to ensure something like this never happens.
Every one hereon gave you the proper advice and resources for you to pursue your grievance but I want to clarify that, as a former Canadian, I can vouch that this misfortunate incident did not happen to you because you are a Canadian. Regrettably, mishandling funds is something that rarely occurs in real estate but somehow, sometimes, someone gets desperate or bold enough to doing it and it can happen to even American Fort Lauderdale residents. In fact, unfortunately fraud is everywhere, world wide.
Unless your $10K escrow deposit is given back to the title company before closing by the crooked employee or some other arrangements are made by the title attorney put back that $10K in escrow, t you may be forced to close, anyway, and bring the full amount of your purchase to the closing table (Remember that the seller is just as much a victim as you are in this situation).
You can start your grievance now by contacting all the state agencies for consumer protection but you should immediately procure a independent attorney to help you through this legal matter. However, consider that your cost of pursuing this episode to recuperate the $10K may exceed the whole $10K.
This is very serious!
I know for a FACT that this kind of thing is on the radar of US Attorney Offices around the country and I assume that the Title Attorney knows this and is likely taking the proper steps to resolve it.
However, if it were me and I was not getting the info I felt I needed, I'd let them know the steps I was prepared to take.
Know this, the State and US Attorney's Office have had Title Companies front and center for a while now.