Rack up another win for trustee Irving Picard, the partner at Baker Hostetler who’s cleaning up the Bernard Madoff mess. On Friday, Picard and Preet Bharara, the headline-making U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced a $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower (no it’s not spelled “Jeffrey”).
Picower, a successful investor and prominent philanthropist, earned billions — both real, through investing with Goldman Sachs, and fictional, through investing with Madoff — before he died in October 2009. Picower was found dead in the swimming pool of his home in Palm Beach, apparently after suffering a heart attack (a plot device familiar to viewers of Brothers & Sisters and The OC). If he had held on until January 2010, Picower would have avoided the estate tax.
Of the $7.2 billion settlement, $5 billion will go to Picard, to settle the complaint he filed against Picower in bankruptcy court, and $2.2 billion will go to the Department of Justice — the largest civil forfeiture payment in U.S. history. All of this money will eventually find its way to qualifying Madoff victims.
Based on monies collected to date, what kind of recovery might Madoff’s victims be looking at?
Mark Madoff, the oldest of Bernard Madoff’s two sons, committedsuicide on Saturday, by hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment. Saturday was a significant day: the second anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Mark Madoff’s lawyer, prominent Paul Weiss partner Martin Flumenbaum, issued a statement yesterday: “Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy…. [Mark Madoff was] an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”
Flumenbaum wasn’t the only powerful Paul Weiss personage named “Martin” with involvement in this case. Mark Madoff’s body was actually found by legendary litigator Martin London, a longtime partner at the firm who is now of counsel at PW.
As noted on his Paul Weiss website bio, “[t]he gamut of Mr. London’s successes is vast.” But his experience is primarily on the civil side, with occasional forays into white-collar criminal work. His docket generally doesn’t include violence and death; he’s not the kind of lawyer who sees dead people (e.g., a homicide prosecutor).
Frank DiPascali, the former CFO — chief fraudulent officer? — for Ponzi schemer extraordinaire Bernard Madoff, pleaded guilty today to a variety of charges, including securities fraud, falsifying records, and international money laundering.
Read more and comment over at Going Concern. Guilty Madoff CFO Update [Going Concern]
The long (inter)national Marc Dreier nightmare is almost at an end. He’s been sentenced to 20 years for defrauding his clients and investors. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports:
Prosecutors had asked for a 145-year sentence, which harked back to the 150-year sentence U.S. District Judge Denny Chin readily handed down to Bernie Madoff, whose massive Ponzi scheme drained the bank accounts of countless investors. In both cases defense attorneys sought a fraction of that. Dreier’s attorney sought no more than 12-and-a-half years.
But Dreier drew U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who has been highly critical of the length of sentences under the federal sentencing guidelines, particularly in white collar crime cases.
* United Airlines settled a suit filed by a former pilot, who resigned after repeatedly finding porn in hidden places in her cockpit, including underneath a cap on a safety device called a “stick shaker” (no pun intended). Click to see United’s ridiculous effort to dismiss. [The Seattle Times]
* Attorney General Andrew Cuomo convinced 9 out of the top 10 bonus recipients at AIG to return their bonuses. Who is number 10? [The New York Times]
* It turns out that Madoff has more than $1 billion worth of assets and the french authorities plan to seize his chateau in Cap d’Antibe, France, so maybe his victims can get a time share? No? [The Associated Press]
* A court battle between billionaire Wilbur Ross and hedge fund manager Bruce Rose may be the key to understanding the housing crisis. [Bloomberg]
* A sex-discrimination suit against Wal-Mart reaches the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today. 200 female employees say women in comparable jobs don’t get paid as much as men. [The Huffington Post]
* Preservationists think a landmark case in Chicago is cause for alarm. [The New York Times]
* A new report from the Project for Attorney Retention (sounds like something we can all get behind) shows that it makes better business sense to have attorneys work reduced hours rather than laying them off. [The American Lawyer]
* More drama in the never-ending Minnesota Senate race: Al Franken says Norm Coleman should pay for the costs of the trial if he loses. [MSNBC]
* California’s 1996 ban of affirmative action in education, public hiring, or contracting is being closely considered by the courts. [National Law Journal]
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.