Ex-partner guilty of $2.4bn fraud

By James Barnes

19 November 2012 at 13:18 BST

Former Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins has been convicted of assisting executives at financial services company Refco to conceal a $2.4 billion fraud.

New York: lawyer awaits sentencing

New York: lawyer awaits sentencing gagliardifoto/Shutterstock.com

A jury at the Southern District of New York court found the 62-year-old guilty of conspiracy, two counts of securities fraud, two counts of false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and two counts of wire fraud, reports The New York Law Journal.
Collins had been found guilty three years ago in a verdict that was overturned in January by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


His legal team was led by William Schwartz and Jonathan Bach of Palo Alto-headquartered firm Cooley. Mr Schwartz said: ‘We are disappointed in the jury's verdict and intend to appeal it.’
The prosecution team consisted of Southern District Assistant US Attorneys Harry Chernoff, Michael Levy and Edward Imperatore. Southern District US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that Collins used his position as a lawyer to help orchestrate an accounting fraud ‘that left a major commodities firm in tatters’.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mayer Brown co-operated with prosecutors in the case. At the time of Mr Collins’ indictment in 2007, the firm said its review showed that ‘the firm acted in a professional, competent and ethical manner in its work on behalf of Refco’.
Collins faces a maximum prison term of 20 years on each of the fraud counts. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Loretta Preska on 20 March. He received seven years in 2010 following his 2009 convictions that were later vacated. Refco chief executive Robert Bennett and former company president Tone Grant have also been found guilty of the fraud. Bennett is serving a 16-year prison sentence after pleading guilty. Grant was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Canada fraud

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports that former Coutts Crane Ingram partner Michael Ingram is facing fraud and theft charges and has been stripped of his licence after the Law Society of Upper Canada connected him to a CAN$3 million fraud case.
According to the report, the society said Mr Ingram used his position to siphon cash from trust funds – mainly connected to the Toronto Rotary Club -- to eight recipients, including his wife and brother.
The society claims there were more than 130 unauthorised transfers.
‘The conduct in this case is egregious,’ said a law society spokesperson. ‘Over $3-million in trust funds were misapplied and over $2-million remains unpaid... The fact that over $2-million was taken from a charitable foundation is of particular concern.’


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