Bernice Lee is a Partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and focuses her practice on bankruptcy, receiverships, and complex commercial litigation. She has extensive experience in all aspects of reorganizations, liquidations, receiverships, and fraudulent and preference transfer litigation. She regularly represents creditors, investors, receivers, trustees and business debtors, and has served as a court-appointed fiduciary in federal and state cases.
As reflected in Chambers USA, Bernice has notable experience in both Bankruptcy Litigation and Bankruptcy Restructuring. She is a top-rated bankruptcy lawyer by Super Lawyers (2019-2023) and was a Rising Star (2015-2018). Bernice’s dedication to the community has been recognized by the Daily Business Review as a 2023 Unsung Hero awardee for her work on the MJ Capital Funding receivership, and by various voluntary bar associations as an honoree at the 2022 Women’s History Month Event.
Most recently, Bernice was appointed receiver by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida over MJ Capital Funding, LLC and three related companies used to operate a $200 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors. She has recovered millions in receivership funds from third parties, worked with investor class representatives to obtain a $26.625 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank, and testified in a criminal trial in which the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts.
She serves as Vice Chair of the Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee, and was Co-Chair of the Education Subcommittee (2022-23) and the Judicial Roundtable Subcommittee (2021-22). In 2022, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed Bernice as the non-judicial Co-Chair of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
Bernice is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, and director of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation. She is a fellow of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s 2019 Leadership Advancement Program, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges’ 2016 NextGen Class, and the Florida Bar Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy, Class IV.
Bernice received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and Bachelor of Arts in Communications and minor in Business Administration from California State University Fullerton. In 2008 to 2009, Bernice was a law clerk for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul G. Hyman for the Southern District of Florida. Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Bernice was a partner at a Boca Raton law firm.
I am passionate about solving problems. I focus on understanding the client’s objectives and executing strategies to deliver desired results. Bankruptcy is a dynamic combination of litigation, negotiation, and consensus building. My dedication to community is reflected in my years of service on the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida.
- Moderator, Federal Court Settlement Conferences, Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee (May 19, 2023)
- Panelist, AAPI Heritage Event, Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida (May 12, 2023)
- Panelist, Effective and Persuasive Legal Writing for Bankruptcy Lawyers, 32nd Annual Bankruptcy Skills Workshop at the University of Miami School of Law (June 3, 2022)
- Panelist, No Releases for You! Purdue Pharma, the ‘Texas Two-Step’ and Other Recent Developments in Bankruptcy and Mass Tort Liabilities, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (March 9, 2022)
- Moderator, Receiver and Trustee Appointments, American Inns of Court’s Bench & Bar Conference Miami (February 18, 2022)
- Panelist, Virtual Conversation about Practicing Bankruptcy Law, Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation (April 6, 2022 and February 25, 2021)
- Panelist, Notable Recent Supreme Court Bankruptcy Cases, Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida, Brown Bag Series Fort Lauderdale (June 27, 2018)
- Co-Author, Pssst, Can you Keep a Secret? Unperfected “Secret” Liens as a Preference Defense Vol. XXXVI, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal No. 6 (June 2017)
What's trending with Bernice
The former CEO of MJ Capital, Johanna Garcia — dubbed Florida's "Mother Teresa" for helping companies get short-term financing — was arrested Friday on accusations she ran a $190 million investment Ponzi scheme through the company.
Bernice Lee serves as the Receiver over MJ Capital Funding, LLC and three related entities in a federal case brought by the SEC that involves a $200 million Ponzi scheme. Promoters misrepresented to investors that their funds would be used to provide merchant cash advances but instead the funds were used to pay alleged returns to investors, and commission and fees to promoters.
Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton is a complex commercial litigation firm founded in 1982 that focuses its practice on bet-the-company commercial cases, class actions, healthcare and bankruptcy matters.