N.Y. lawyer arrested for $100m fraud

Dec. 9, 2008 at 12:02 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A prominent New York lawyer with impeccable credentials and a 250-lawyer firm bearing his name has been charged with conducting a $100 million fraud.

Marc Dreier, who lives in a lavish Manhattan apartment, owns a beach house in South Hampton, N.Y., and an impressive modern art collection, was charged with stealing $113 million since October, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Dreier brazenly forged documents and talked his way into hedge fund and pension fund offices, where he sold promissory notes of no value, but backed with forged financial statements.

Dreier was arrested in Canada on minor charges -- an arrest that caused a furious ripple through the conglomerate of law firms that bear his name. U.S. authorities then arrested him as he returned from Canada Sunday night.

In all but an instant, the law firm was unable to meet its payroll obligations or its rent. The company's holiday party at the Waldorf-Astoria was canceled and many attorneys quickly abandoned their jobs.

"The lawyers have apparently manned the lifeboats," Dreier's lawyer Gerald Shargel said after Dreier's arraignment.

When asked who would run the company, "I don't think there is any law firm to run," Shargel said.

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