The Washington Post reports:
Three years into his own scheme of dipping into clients’ funds, Maryland malpractice lawyer Bradley Schwartz received an e-mail from a man claiming to represent a manufacturing company in Singapore, offering him legal work…
What happened next, according to Montgomery County prosecutors, is that the scammer got scammed.
Schwartz pleaded guilty and now awaits sentencing. Oh, it is sweet when a thief gets his just reward…
In fairness, it’s not like Bradley Schwartz is evil. The brother just has a problem:
It’s not clear where the stolen money went. In some cases, money due one client was used to pay another, prosecutors said.
“For a number of years, Mr. Schwartz was able to maintain or at least hide what was really happening by virtue of robbing Peter and paying Paul. But at some point in time, his scheme fell apart. It is our general belief that this happened when he himself was scammed,” [prosecutor Robert Hill] said in court.
He also said that Schwartz has had “a significant addiction to gambling,” but he did not elaborate, and Schwartz’s lawyer declined to comment.
The ABA has been warning lawyers about this very scam. Have you heard of it before?
The scams worked like this:
The purported Asian companies said they needed help collecting debts in the United States. The lawyers took the bait. In turn, the lawyers received checks from one of the alleged debtors, including one called “Eagle Power Equipment.” The checks were bogus, but the lawyers didn’t know it, and deposited them. The lawyers then deducted their retainers and sent the rest of the money to the person who hired them.
This sounds like a stupid thing for a person to fall for, but remember, Schwartz has a gambling problem. Doing this is probably no dumber than feeding hundreds of thousands of dollars into a Vegas casino.
At least Schwartz is owning up to his mistakes:
Schwartz is cooperating with investigators and prosecutors. He has altered his life insurance policy so that upon his death, $750,000 will be assigned to help reimburse the Client Protection Fund. He agreed to be disbarred.
Wow, he had to alter his life insurance policy. That bitch, Karma, doesn’t play around.
Lawyer who stole from clients was himself bilked by widespread scam [Washington Post]