Fraud

Jason Hunt (left) and Samuel Cole Wakefield

This week brought unfortunate news for an unambiguously gay duo. A former employee of Vanderbilt Law and his boyfriend pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from the law school — as well as to charges of aggravated statutory rape. Both men then got hit with some pretty heavy sentences.

How much time are they getting? How did they perpetrate their fraudulent scheme? And what did they blow the money on?

Keep reading for more details of their crimes, some color commentary from local correspondents, and photographs of some beautiful youths who used to hang out with the defendants….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Having a Gay Old Time: Couple Sentenced for Massive Theft from Vanderbilt Law (and Statutory Rape)”

It must be every billionaire wine connoisseur’s dream to own a few bottles from the cellars of the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence. The taste of the prestige must be simply delightful. But after paying $311,804 for four bottles of wine that may have been counterfeit, even the richest of men would probably be left with the awful taste of sour grapes.

This is what allegedly happened to William Koch, brother to the controversially conservative Charles and David Koch, when he discovered that the wine he purchased from Thomas Jefferson’s cache in France may have been bogus. Because when you’re worth $4 billion, it must be embarrassing to file suit over a mere pittance. But that’s exactly what this wine aficionado did; no one fools a Koch brother and gets away with it.

Alas, it seems that Koch’s claim aged more like milk than fine wine, and the Second Circuit had the unfortunate task of telling him….

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* “This case has nothing to do with the United States.” We’d normally let that slide because of this law from 1789, but now the Supreme Court is suddenly skeptical about the validity of the Alien Tort Claims Act. [Reuters]

* “Why are we being punished for Dewey & LeBoeuf?” Come to think of it, former employees at the failed firm are probably wondering the exact same thing as the fictional characters on “The Good Wife.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Reduce, reuse, and recycle your claims? New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against JPMorgan, alleging that the bank’s Bear Sterns business defrauded mortgage-bond investors. [Bloomberg]

* A man of many firsts: Randall Eng, the first Asian judge in the state, was appointed to lead New York’s Second Department as presiding justice, the first Asian-American to serve in the position. [New York Law Journal]

* UC Irvine Law is planning a six-week summer camp for in-house counsel. They’re calling it the Center for Corporate Law, but Mark Herrmann’s “General Counsel University” has a nicer ring to it. [National Law Journal]

* Why shouldn’t you get a dual JD/MBA? Because hiding out in school for another year isn’t going to save you from all of the extra debt you’ve incurred earning yet another degree. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]


In a time when many law firms are relatively less stable than their employees would like, it’s definitely not good to hear about a Biglaw executive allegedly defrauding his firm out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But such is the world we live in. So let’s get to it: which former executive at Chicago-based Mayer Brown is facing pretty egregious fraud charges?

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Killer cups?

* Dewey know how much it costs to keep this failed firm on life support while its remaining partners try to collect D&L’s unpaid bills? A little more than $2M a month, according to the latest reports. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Former Missouri senators — including two Am Law 200 partners — are asking begging Rep. Todd Akin to step aside so the Republicans’ chances of securing the Senate seat aren’t legitimately raped. [Am Law Daily]

* Howrey going to explain this one to the judge? The defunct firm is blaming a deadly forklift accident at a document-storage warehouse for hindering its wind-down process. [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]

* “No matter what they said, it’s not material? Is that what you’re alleging?” It figures that a Skadden partner argued that employment statistics were irrelevant in the fraud class action suit against Brooklyn Law School, but at least the judge attempted to set him straight. [National Law Journal]

* Alaska is suing to overturn federal oversight of its elections, because the portions of the VRA aimed at protecting African Americans aren’t applicable if you can see Russia from your house. [Chicago Tribune]

* An official at ICE is suing because his boss, a woman, allegedly “created a frat house-type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.” Pledging totally sucks, bro. [New York Times]

* Psst, we think we know what Victoria’s secret is, and she’s no angel. According to police, she’s got a very bad temper, and if you deny her money for booze, she may strangle you to death with her bra. [Daily Mail]

* Jerome Richter, former Blank Rome litigation department chairman, RIP. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Supreme Court justice thinks that things will be back to normal at One First Street come the start of the next term, despite his colleagues’ loose lips. [National Law Journal]

* Hourly billing rates for associate are on the rise nationwide, while partner and counsel billing rates only saw modest bumps. Is Biglaw back in business, or is this just another “retention strategy”? [New York Law Journal]

* This is a really hard to believe newspaper headline: “Law firm recognizes employees have life outside of work.” Carlton Fields, what kind of gypsy voodoo magic spells are you casting? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

* Another day, another editorial about the “irretrievably broken” state of legal education in our country. But the ABA admins needn’t worry their oblivious little heads, because people will keep applying. [New York Times]

* And in today’s disturbing law school debtor news, Jason Bohn’s charge was upgraded to first-degree murder after a DA announced via indictment that Bohn allegedly intended to torture his victim. [New York Post]

* “Quite frankly, these are the actions of a dirty old man.” You can look, but never lick: it’s not really a good thing when a judge uses a sentence like this to describe an attorney’s alleged client relations skills. [CBS News]

* For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball fraud game. Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud among a potpourri of other felony counts, and he’ll now face up to 20 years in prison. [CNN]

* Dewey know how many professional firms have been allowed to stay on as advisers for the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history? Six out of nine firms were permitted to continue services, but Proskauer wasn’t one of them. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* In other defunct firm news, Al Togut will be presenting Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former partners with a proposed settlement on Wednesday. You’ve been warned: prepare yourselves for some Biglaw-style bitching. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Despite reports of the billable hour going the way of the dodo bird, it looks like they’re here to stay. Right now, corporate law departments are still much more excited about alternative billing arrangements than law firms. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Judge Sam Sparks, the King of Benchslaps, dismissed Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit against the USADA in record time. That ruling came too quickly — guess it’s time to investigate judicial doping. [New York Times]

* Marc Dreier’s son, Spencer Dreier, is representing himself pro se in a defamation suit against his former college roommate. Looks like Daddy couldn’t spring for his kid’s lawyer while he was in the clink. [Bloomberg]

* A California woman claims that the Food and Drug Administration’s methods regarding sperm donations are unconstitutional. Why should she have to go to an intermediary to get sperminated? [Huffington Post]

* Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? It’s not exactly something to be proud of. Actor Dwayne Johnson is listed as a “co-conspirator” in a $1.8M fraud lawsuit that’s been filed by a South Florida family. [NBC Miami]

This girl is 1/64 Cherokee, tops.

UPDATE (12/17/2013, 3 p.m.): Please note that the claims made by the tribe in its lawsuit have been dismissed.

Ever since white people arrived on this continent, we have been no end of trouble for Native Americans. You would think that after a certain point, Caucasians would give them a break. You know, after basically destroying their entire race and civilization.

But no, whitey still can’t even leave Native Americans alone to their casinos and endemic alcoholism. Which brings us to today’s Lawyers of the Day.

Which attorneys are being accused by a Florida tribe of a “secret and sophisticated scheme” to get rich off exorbitant and extraneous legal fees?

Let’s see….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers of the Day: Native American Tribe Says Their Attorneys Swindled Them for Cars and Nice Furniture”

People going to bottom-tier law schools ought to know that they won’t go like hot cakes on the job market. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to exploit their vulnerability.

Mark Gergen, a law professor at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley), commenting on the lawsuits filed against law schools over allegedly misleading employment data.

(That’s just one professor’s opinion. What do other experts think?)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: More Like Week-Old Muffins?”

Keeping you unemployed since 2008.

* People like it when the members of the Supreme Court agree with each other, except when the justices forget to tell them exactly what to do. Poor sheeple. [Washington Post]

* If you’re wondering why you can’t get a Biglaw job, it’s because the firms don’t need you. Well, they probably do, but definitely they need their money more. [Wall Street Journal]

* Chadbourne & Parke to 190K square feet: partners seem to be pissy about the move, but this white-shoe firm may soon be a blue-chip tenant at One World Trade Center. [New York Times]

* British blokes like scamming folks. Kevin Steele, a former Mishcon de Reya partner, has been sentenced to more than five years for his role in a $28M fraud scheme. [The Guardian]

* Florida’s former foreclosure king might have been dethroned, but David J. Stern refuses to give up his crown. Say hello to the Five Guys burger king. [Real Time / Palm Beach Post]

* My Fair Wedding? More like My F**ked Wedding. A New York couple is suing celebrity wedding planner David Tutera, alleging that he left them waiting at the altar. [New York Daily News]

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