A former top Baker & McKenzie partner is facing up to 15 years in jail after pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Martin Weisberg was once a top-ranked corporate lawyer in Bakers' New York office. Some may remember him from his role in a $600 million case against his former firm. However prosecutors now claim that Weisberg told three clients between 2006 and 2007 that $30 million of their money would not earn interest when placed in an escrow account. He was charged with taking the interest - $1.3 million - for himself and sending the clients letters on Bakers' letterhead showing false balances. He faces a maximum of ten years for the offence.
Weisberg also faces another five years for charges relating to the alleged secret issue of discounted shares in a couple of companies whilst he was a partner at Jenkens & Gilchrist. Executives of one of the companies - themselves facing trial - are claimed to have paid Weisberg $1.7 million for omitting crucial information from SEC filings.
|Martin Weisberg's new office. How it may look.|
So in all that's a nice round $3 million. In a statement to the court, a regretful Weisberg helpfully confirmed that the "actions were wrong and in violation of the law". No shit. He made his guilty pleas on the steps of the courtroom, just as the jury was being sworn in. Sentencing will take place in September, and prosecutors reckon he'll get around eight years (locked in a small windowless room for 23 hours a day - something of a busman's holiday for a former corporate partner at an international law firm).
In other dodgy lawyer news, Hogan Lovell's bête noire Christopher Grierson is soon to face sentencing for his £1 million+ theft.