Recently in fraud Category

May 11, 2008

Giving new meaning to "in-house"

house.jpgHow much did a gambling addicted in-house attorney siphon from his employer, a New Jersey home builder? $1.37 million. How did he do it? The attorney canceled contracts for real estate purchases, recovered deposits from the escrow companies, and then gambled away the funds. That wasn't the only house-related damage from his gambling addiction. He refinanced his home in 2007 without telling his wife (although title to the home was in her name). He'll be in the Big House for the next seven years. Maybe he should have argued he was on Mirapex? Or at least tried this strategy.

March 3, 2008

Enron redux: the hits keep on coming

michael-clayton-poster.jpgWhat do George Clooney and Kenneth Lay have in common? Nothing really... well, except for the fact that lawyers for defrauded Enron investors played a clip from George's movie "Michael Clayton" at their hearing requesting attorney fees. How much were the attorneys requesting in fees? A record $700 million. What percentage is that of the total settlement earned for investors? 9.5%. What happened to the founder of the firm seeking these record fees? He recently pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme in a different case (but will pull in millions from the Enron case). What did the self-effacing lawyer for the plaintiffs argue at the fee hearing? "This is an extraordinary case and we did an extraordinary job." When can we see the real story of Enron's collapse in a film drama? Soon to come with Leo in the lead.

February 6, 2008

IANAL... but my clients think I am

greencard.jpgHow much can a fake lawyer earn by offering to sell green card extensions to immigrants? $129,000. That's how much a con man earned from 12 clients who believed the non-lawyer could help them avoid deportation. (Note: As some readers know, this blog tracks fees charged by real attorneys as well as fake attorneys.)

What sort of shtick did the non-lawyer use to entice his clients? He had a lavish office in L.A. and told people he used to be a judge. How much did the fake lawyer make by running a fake traffic school? $8,000. And how much did he get by stealing the identity of one of his traffic school customers? $80,000. How many counts of felony is the non-lawyer charged with? 31. Do fake lawyers always have to do jail time? Not necessarily.

January 30, 2008

Maybe they should call it "Con Bono"

sheriff.jpgHow much is the former sheriff of Orange County (charged with accepting cash, favors, and gifts) paying for his legal defense? $0. The mega firm of Jones Day is handling the case pro bono (although the ex-Sheriff will pay legal fees for the brief period before he resigned from office). How much does the Sheriff earn annually in retirement pay? $200K.

How much did Former Illinois governor George Ryan pay his lawyers at Winston & Strawn for defending charges of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax fraud? $0. The firm handled it pro bono. How much did the defense cost? $20 million. Do you have to pay tax on pro bono efforts done on your behalf? Alas, that's a murky legal issue.

January 17, 2008

Politician, lobby thyself

whiskey.jpgCan an indicted state politician use election funds to pay his attorney fees? We'll find out when the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission rules on a request by an ex-state senator indicted on bribery.

Why was the politician indicted? The senator was paid a salary by a medical school in exchange for doling out state grants to them. In addition, he was also accused of steering work to his law firm while enjoying an expense account that included, among other things, $50 shots of Glenlivet. (Wondering what a $50 glass of whiskey tastes like?)

January 2, 2008

You shouldn't have ...

gift-box-72.jpgHow much did a brain-damaged man who also suffered a stroke allegedly give as a gift to his attorney? $450K. That's what a New York attorney claimed when trying to explain to a judge why he had ended up with nearly half a million dollars more in legal fees than he was entitled. The judge rejected the lawyer's argument and ordered a re-gifting of the payment to the client.

November 19, 2007

IANAL ... But I Bill Like One

ianal2.jpgHow much do fake lawyers charge? So far this blog has focused on the fees paid to real attorneys. But what about fake attorneys -- those devious folks who pretend to be lawyers? Apparently they're compensated just as well as their non-faux brethren. One man paid a fake attorney $18,000 for a failed attempt to get off a drunk driving charge. Apparently the pseudo-attorney's questioning during jury selection ("Do you like animals?") didn't tip off the court.

How much can a law firm bill for the services of a fake attorney? $300 an hour. At least that's how much Anderson Kill & Olick billed for the work of a paralegal who fooled the firm by pretending to be an "unduly agressive" attorney.

How many lawsuits can a fake attorney win in eight months? 25, according to a fake lawyer operating out of Newport, California who managed to prevail in that many matters before his ruse was discovered. "I lied about being a lawyer but other than the lie, everything else was totally legit," he said.

Are all fake attorneys doing it for money? No, some do it for love.

November 16, 2007

Book 'Em

freyphoto.jpg How much does it cost for a bunch of lawyers to sue Random House over a fake memoir? $783,000. That's what Random House paid attorneys as part of a class action settlement brought by readers 'deceived' by James Frey's fabricated memoir, A Million Little Pieces. (In class action cases, the defendant -- Random House, in this case -- must pay the other side's attorneys' fees.) How much did the author earn from the book? $4.4 million.

How much were the actual damages from the fake memoir? $27,348. That's a payment of $15.81 cents each to the 1729 people who joined the lawsuit. How many people bought the book? Approximately 3.5 million. 

How many newspapers did Random House have to advertise in to notify members of the class (people who bought the fake memoir)? 962 at a cost of $432,000.

How many copies did the book sell after it was exposed as a fake memoir? 93,738. The book remained on best seller lists for an additional 26 weeks proving that fake memoirs can sell as a well as real ones. Clifford Irving, call your agent.