Martin Shkreli's Ex-Lawyer Is Convicted of Fraud
People feel a range of emotions when a defendant leaves the courtroom in handcuffs.
Victims may feel a sense of justice. Jurors, perhaps, feel relief because their job is done. Maybe one attorney revels in victory while another is shamed in defeat.
But every lawyer should be mindful about the conviction of attorney Evan Greebel, formerly with Kaye Scholer. As one observer famously said during a parade of prisoners, "There, but by the grace of God, go I."
Wire, Securities Fraud
Greebel, outside counsel to a pharmaceutical company, was found guilty of charges that he conspired to commit wire and securities fraud. In the federal courtroom, jurors concluded that Greebel helped Martin Shkreli steal millions of dollars from the company and cover up the fraud.
Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, said the verdict also sends a message to lawyers that they can be held accountable for using their "legal expertise to facilitate the commission of crime."
Shkreli, who founded Retrophin in 2011, was convicted of fraud in a separate trial in August. He was accused of lying to investors and paying them back with stolen company funds and stock.
Greebel was charged with assisting in the fraud through a series of settlement and sham consulting agreements, the New York Times reported. Greebel faces up to 20 years in prison for his part in the scheme.
RICO and Criminal Liability
Greebel wasn't the first and won't be the last lawyer to be held liable for complicity in clients' wrongdoing. Steven R. Donziger set a high water mark in obtaining a $19 billion verdict by breaking the law a few years ago.
A federal court concluded that Donzinger and his co-defendants broke laws against bribery, blackmail, extortion, witness tampering, and fraud in a civil case. An appeals court affirmed the ruling in Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, which applied the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act to attorneys.
"Every business owner or executive, especially if the business makes a tangible product, should know this case, which has major ramifications regarding whether companies can fight back against, and hold responsible, mass-tort plaintiff's lawyers who use extortionate and/or fraudulent litigation techniques," Forbes reported.
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