Ex-Biglaw Partner Said He Shot His Wife By Accident – Jurors Didn’t Buy It

An Atlanta jury found Claud “Tex” McIver guilty of felony murder on Monday in the fatal shooting of his wife, Diane McIver, while they were riding in an SUV in 2016.

McIver is a former Fisher & Phillips partner.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports: “Known as ‘The Fixer’ because of his ability to grease the wheels of bureaucracy and get things done, McIver appeared stunned as he was handcuffed by a Fulton County sheriff’s deputy and led from the courtroom following the verdict. McIver had lived a mostly charmed existence until the evening of September 25, 2016, when he shot his wife Diane in the back as they were being driven near Piedmont Park. He claimed it was an accident. Jurors didn’t buy it.”

The sentence carries a mandatory life sentence for the 75-year-old defendant.

“It’s unclear whether the jurors who leaned toward involuntary manslaughter knew they were accepting a deal that would likely send McIver away until death,” the Journal-Constitution reports in another article.

Read the Journal-Constitution article.




Dallas Lawyer Who Planted Niece in Government Job As a ‘Mole’ Gets 10-Year Max for Medical Fraud

Dallas lawyer Tshombe Anderson had his niece obtain an internship at the U.S. Labor Department so she could snoop through claims files, learn the system and act as a “mole,” prosecutors say.

The Dallas Morning News reports that on Thursday a U.S. district judge sentenced Anderson to the maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay more than $26 million in restitution minus what the government has already collected from him.

“Anderson stole patient information from over 200 injured federal workers and then used the information to fraudulently bill OWCP [workers’ comp], enriching himself and others with taxpayer dollars intended for the treatment of injured federal workers,” said Steven Grell, Special Agent in-Charge for the Dallas Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

Read the Dallas News article.



Lawyer Convicted of Abetting Tax Evasion By Wall Street Executive’s Adult Children

The lawyer who taught New York’s first family of tax evasion the tricks of the trade might be spending his golden years in prison, according to Crain’s New York Business.

A Manhattan jury found Michael Little, 67, guilty of helping the adult children of a Wall Street executive tap into their Swiss bank accounts, which held millions in inheritance money, without alerting the IRS.

Reporter Aaron Elstein writes that the case appears to mark the end of an extensive government crackdown on wealthy families and their advisers who avoided paying taxes by parking money offshore. Federal authorities have charged more than 60 account holders with tax evasion and 30 bankers or lawyers with enabling them during the past eight years.

Little’s troubles began in 2001 when the children of Harry Seggerman, who’d made his fortune at Fidelity investing in Japanese and later Korean companies wanted to access their late father’s $24 million estate, about half of which was tucked away in a Zurich vault.

“Little advised the Seggermans that they could get their inheritance dollars back into the United States without alerting authorities by taking ‘little chunks’ using travelers checks or disguising transfers by saying they were related to sales of art or jewelry,” writes Elstein.

Read the Crain’s article.



Mueller’s Assurances That Trump is Not a ‘Target’ Don’t Mean Much

Robert S. Mueller

Robert S. Mueller

The recent assurance that President Trump is not officially a target n Robert Mueller’s investigation may not be worth much, reports Politico. Mueller may not be able to secure an indictment against a sitting president, but his report could serve as a trigger to impeachment proceedings.

Reporter Josh Gerstein interviewed lawyers who told him that it’s more significant that Mueller reportedly plans to writes a report about Trump’s potential obstruction of justice in the probe.

“The key isn’t that Trump is not (yet) a ‘target’ but that he IS a SUBJECT of Mueller’s investigation & that Mueller will write a REPORT on what Trump did, why, and what it adds up to. That is HUGE,” Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter.

Read the Politico article.



U.S. Supreme Court Wrestles With Microsoft Data Privacy Fight

MicrosoftReuters reports that Supreme Court justices on Tuesday wrestled with Microsoft Corp’s dispute with the U.S. Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue.

“The case began when Microsoft balked at handing over a criminal suspect’s emails stored in Microsoft computer servers in Dublin in a drug trafficking case. Microsoft challenged whether a domestic warrant covered data stored abroad” according to reporters Lawrence Hurley and Dustin Volz.

Two of the justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, questioned whether the court needed to act now,  considering the fact that Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would resolve the legal issue.

Read the Reuters article.




Accepting a Pardon From Trump Could Add Booster Rockets to State Prosecutions

Individuals who are hoping for a preemptive pardon from President Trump for any role they may have had in criminal activity should be aware that they run a significant risk that acceptance of a pardon would be used by state prosecutors as an admission of guilt.

Writing for Slate.com, New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman explains that a president’s pardon power applies only to federal crimes, leaving that individual liable for state crimes that cover the same underlying conduct.

“Officials like New York’s [Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman may feel they have an ace in hand if they can walk into a state courthouse with a defendant’s admission of guilt implied by having accepted a presidential pardon,” writes Goodman. “This get-out-of-federal-jail card comes at a price.”

He cites a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that acceptance of a pardon carries with it a “confession of guilt.”

Read the Slate.com article.



Ponzi-Scheming Company’s GC (and Texas State Senator) Guilty on 11 Charges

A Texas jury found State Senator Carlos Uresti guilty on 11 felony charges — including fraud and money laundering — for his role as general counsel for a now-bankrupt oilfield services company that perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against its investors.

The Texas Tribune reports that Uresti could face a long prison sentence and fines amounting to millions of dollars.

“Uresti was charged last year in connection with FourWinds Logistics, a now-bankrupt oilfield services company that perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against its investors,” reports Emma Platoff. “Uresti served as general counsel for FourWinds and owned 1 percent of the company. He also earned commission for recruiting investors, according to court documents.”

Read the Tribune article.





Mueller Gets Plea, No Cooperation, as Skadden Lawyer Admits Lies

Bloomberg Law is reporting that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has extracted a guilty plea from a former associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom who admitted in court in Washington that he misled investigators in the Russian election meddling case.

Alex van der Zwaan admitted he misled investigators about the last time he talked with Rick Gates, who was indicted in October with Paul Manafort over their consulting work in Ukraine. But van der Zwaan was the first of those who didn’t enter into a cooperation agreement with the special counsel’s office, according to Bloomberg.

He faces as long as six months in jail under advisory guidelines.

Skadden said it terminated van der Zwaan’s employment in 2017 and has been cooperating with authorities.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.



DOJ Warns of Criminal Actions Against Companies with Agreements Not to Poach Competitors’ Employees

An assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice has warned that the DOJ would soon launch criminal enforcement actions against companies that have so-called “no poaching agreements” with each other, whereby they agree not to solicit one another’s employees, reports Bloomberg.

Makan Delrahim, assistant AG in the Antitrust Division, says his division has “been very active” in reviewing potential violations of the antitrust laws caused by these agreements and added that “in the coming couple of months,” the public “will see some announcements” of DOJ actions.

Writing for Bloomberg, three Seyfarth Shaw lawyers warn, “The bright line has now been drawn: Any violative anti-poaching policies after October 2016 expose employers to criminal punishment. In fact, for the DOJ Antirust Division, such enforcement actions might prove to be like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Read the Bloomberg article.




Ex-Biglaw Partner Gets 7 Years for Money Laundering

A judge has put an end to the once-illustrious legal career of Raymond Ho, who became a partner at Arent Fox at the age of 33.

Above the Law reports on the sentencing of the one-time legal star  who the government referred to as a “prolific money launderer” who is alleged to have funneled $2.1 million through various accounts, including attorney trust accounts.

The sentencing memo summed up the case:

“After emigrating from Taiwan at a young age, he excelled in U.S. schools, earned two legal degrees, practiced law at some of the largest law firms in the country, and even opened his own patent law firm.

“The defendant, however, was not the upstart attorney his résumé would suggest. Rather, from at least March 2013 to February 2017, the defendant engaged in a large-scale money laundering scheme.”

Read the Above the Law article.



Michigan State Trustee Calls for GC to Resign in Wake of Scandal

Michigan State University Trustee Brian Mosallam is calling for the resignation of Bob Noto, the school’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, reports The Detroit News.

The university issued two reports on the allegations of Nassar misconduct involving girls and young women he treated when he was a team physician.

Reporter Kim Kozlowski writes: “Both reports cleared Nassar, but the unabridged report that recently surfaced and was marked confidential showed that Nassar was a liability to the university and ‘is exposing patients to unnecessary trauma based on the possibility of perceived inappropriate sexual misconduct.'”

Read the Detroit News article.





Perkins Coie Adds Former National Security and Cybercrimes Chief to White Collar Practice

Christopher K. Veatch has joined Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations practice group as a partner in the Chicago office. Veatch joins the firm from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he was most recently Chief of the National Security & Cybercrimes Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

As Section Chief, Veatch led complex investigations of cyber, national security, fraud and financial crimes

Veatch joins the firm shortly after Perkins Coie’s recent hiring of two others from government positions: Adam Schuman in New York (former Special Counsel for Public Integrity in the New York State Governor’s Office) and Kevin Feldis in Anchorage (former First Assistant United States Attorney in Alaska).

“Perkins Coie is an industry leader with a deep national bench of white collar attorneys who provide strategic counsel to our clients in highly consequential matters,” said Markus Funk, Chair of Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations practice. “Chris’s distinguished career with the DOJ was notable for his exemplary track record in investigating and prosecuting national security and cybercrime enforcement matters. His confidence and superb attention to detail are an asset in advising clients on the complex, sensitive and challenging problems they face in these highly regulated sectors, and the respect he enjoys among his peers is exceptional.”

Before and during law school, Veatch spent five years as a police officer. He earned his law degree (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) from the Indiana University Mauer School of Law and joined the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Staff Attorney in the Enforcement Division, where he investigated violations of the federal securities laws, including insider trading, market manipulation and offering and financial fraud. In 2005, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and within five years was promoted to be a Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section. Less than a year later, he was chosen to be the Deputy Chief of the newly-created National Security Section (as it was then known), and for the past five and a half years, Chris served as the Section’s Chief.

In a release, the firm said:

During his time as a federal prosecutor, Veatch took a series of cases to trial, and successfully argued his victories and other matters on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Among the complex and sensitive matters he has investigated and prosecuted are those involving cybercrime, securities, bank and accounting fraud, international bribery and money laundering schemes, copyright infringement, theft of trade secrets and economic espionage, and export control and U.S. sanctions programs, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Arms Export Control Act, International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Export Administration Regulations, Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, Iranian Transactions Regulations, and other Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions programs, as well as other national security matters, including those involving international and domestic terrorism.

“Chris is a perfect fit for the Chicago Office. He is a proven first-chair trial lawyer in complex cases and is well-known and well-liked by many of our current partners already,” said Chris Wilson, Managing Partner of Perkins Coie’s Chicago office. “Chris adds even more depth to our national White Collar and Investigations practice, and he will be an important part of growing our Chicago office going forward. Most importantly, Chris provides a vital resource to our clients seeking guidance in the increasing regulatory environment surrounding cyber and securities enforcement. I’m delighted to welcome him to the firm.”




Former Associate Gets Jail Time In Biglaw Extortion Case

Former Dentons associate Michael Potere once said he wasn’t afraid of jail time for trying to extort his former employer, according to Above the Law, but now he has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Kathryn Rubino explains that Potere used access to a partner’s email account to download sensitive information about the firm. Then he threatened to release the information unless the firm gave him $210,000 and a piece of artwork.

Prosecutors had asked for a three-month prison sentence, but the U.S. district judge handling the case sentenced him to five months, plus a year of supervised release.

Read the Above the Law article.





In-House Counsel Disbarred For Videotaping Women In Office Bathroom

A former in-house lawyer, accused of secretly videotaping nude and partially clothed female employees at his Florida company, has consented to be disbarred, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

James Patrick Stanton, formerly in-house lawyer with a Florida maintenance company, was alleged to have videotaped women showering, using the toilet and changing clothes in restrooms. A former IT employee of the company reported that he found videos on Stanton’s laptop in 2010 and told executives, but nothing was done.

After the IT employee left the company he gave evidence to police. But later the charges were dismissed after Stanton’s lawyers argued that the statute of limitations had expired, explains reporter Susan Taylor Martin.

Read the Tampa Bay Times article.




Legal Symposium to Explore Groundbreaking Terror-Financing Case

Mark S. WerbnerTrial lawyer Mark Werbner of Dallas litigation firm Sayles Werbner will address Texas lawyers about his decade-long quest to hold the Arab Bank responsible for providing financial support to U.S.-designated terror organizations.

Werbner will discuss Linde, et al. v. Arab Bank PLC in a presentation titled, “Fighting Terror-Financing in the Courtroom,” during the State Bar of Texas Litigation Update Institute’s 34th annual course Jan. 11–12, 2018.

In 2014, a jury in New York sided with Werbner, finding Jordan-based Arab Bank responsible for providing financial services to Hamas for 24 terror attacks during the “Second Intifada” in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The verdict was the culmination of a lawsuit filed in 2004 to obtain justice for nearly 300 American victims and their families. The case marked the first liability verdict against a foreign bank for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Interview: Mark Werbner discussing Arab Bank case

Currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court is Jesner, et al., v. Arab Bank, a related case that would clarify if the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) applies to corporations under the 1789 U.S. law.

The Linde verdict earned Werbner the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Public Justice, which honors attorneys who made the greatest contribution to the public interest through their work in precedent-setting, socially significant cases. His work has also been consistently recognized in top legal publications, such as The Best Lawyers in America.



Lawyer is the First Guy Computer Hackers Call When the FBI Shows Up

Six years ago, former Manhattan lawyer Tor Ekeland traded in his fat paycheck for a not-so-lucrative private practice as one of a handful of defense lawyers who specialize in computer crimes.

Mother Jones profiles the 48-year-old, who says his boring corporate job for leading to alcoholism.

Reporter A.J. Vicens writes that Ekeland has strong feelings about the perceived nefarious intent of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Hackers “scare people. They make them feel vulnerable; there’s a hysteria about it.”

Ekeland has defended hackers against charges ranging from probing the defenses of municipal websites to conspiring to access federal email accounts.

Read the Mother Jones article.



Fired Ex-Partner Crashes Firm’s Holiday Party and Kills Ex-Boss

A former partner of a California law firm showed up at the firm’s holiday party and killed his ex-boss before turning the gun on himself, reports the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Police named John Alexander Mendoza, 58, as the man who shot two colleagues, one fatally.

The incident occurred at the party held for Perona, Langer, Beck, Serbin and Harrison. Mendoza’s name had been removed from the firm’s name after he was fired in recent days.

Above the Law also reported on the incident: “Mendoza reportedly told all lower-level staff members to leave the building before he opened fired upon senior managing partner Major A. Langer and Ronald Beck, who ran day-to-day operations at the firm. Langer was shot in the upper body and died at the scene, while Beck was shot in the leg and had a bullet graze his stomach.”

Mendoza was found dead at the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Read the Press-Telegram article.




Martin Shkreli’s Former Lawyer May Join Him in Prison for Helping to Defraud Investors

Evan Greebel, former lawyer of “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, was convicted Wednesday by a federal jury of conspiring with his ex-client to defraud investors, reports Newsweek.

Greebel, “who was an outside counsel to Shkreli’s former company, Retrophin Inc, was found guilty of conspiring to commit wire fraud and securities fraud when he helped Shkreli steal $11 million from a pharmaceutical company to pay back investors after the former pharma bro lost their money in risky investments,” writes Christina Zhao.

Prosecutors accused Greebel of conspiring with Shkreli by helping him devise sham settlement and consulting contracts to pay back investors, using Retrophin assets.

Read the Newsweek article.



Unsealed Court Docs: Flamboyant Lawyer’s Alleged Death Threats, ‘La Cosa Nostra’ Connections

HandcuffsFlamboyant lawyer Richard Luthmann may fancy himself a champion of the little guy, but federal prosecutors say he is little more than a “violent criminal and fraudster” who bilked customers in a scrap-metal, had a victim threatened at gunpoint, and took advantage of a blind client in a bid to hide the scheme, reports SIlive.com.

The FBI arrested the Staten Island lawyer on a slew of charges, including kidnapping, kidnapping conspiracy, money laundering, brandishing a firearm to commit a crime, aggravated identity theft and extortion conspiracy.

Vice reports that Luthman is “facing federal charges for allegedly running a fake scrap metal empire that involved setting up a blind man as the fall guy and extorting people at gunpoint. In fact, according to the 11-count indictment in that case, the bow-tie-wearing Luthmann may prove to be one of the most colorful—and dangerous—criminals in recent New York City lore.”

Read reports on the case:



New York Post




Fugitive Lawyer Back in U.S. After Arrest at Pizza Hut in Honduras

A lawyer who spent six months on the run after pleading guilty in a $500 million Social Security fraud scheme is back in Kentucky after he was caught outside a Pizza Hut in Honduras, reports CBS News.

Eric Conn pleaded guilty in March to stealing from the federal government and bribing a judge to fix Social Security fraud cases, but a federal judge released Conn on $1.25 million bail. Conn then absconded.

Honduran authorities captured Conn and handed him over to the FBI for a private plane ride back to Lexington, Kentucky. The lawyer who billed himself as “Mr. Social Security” was sentenced in absentia last summer to a 12-year prison term — the maximum possible.

Read the CBS News article.