Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fee disputes....

Julie Kay writes today (pass thru link required) in an interesting and lengthy article about the government trying to forfeit attorneys' fees in the Bankest trial. Here's the intro:

The defense attorneys for the brothers convicted of masterminding the largest bank fraud in Miami history could have to pay back the $757,000 they were paid in legal fees. Federal prosecutors are claiming that money used to pay Ed Shohat and Bruce Lehr was tainted, coming from the sale of a Manhattan condominium that was part of the fraud. In court papers, the attorneys deny that the funds used to pay them were tainted. Shohat worked for Eduardo Orlansky for three years, while Lehr represented Hector Orlansky for 18 months. Both attorneys worked through a 4½-month trial and four weeks of jury deliberations. They also paid for several medical experts to testify about the health of their clients. The Orlanskys, who face 30 years in prison, were convicted in August of massive fraud in their operation of E.S. Bankest, a Miami factoring company. The Orlanskys created fictitious checks, invoices and companies to inflate the value of account receivables by hundreds of millions of dollars to support the fraud targeting Portugal’s Espirito Santo Bank. The nine-year scam allowed the Orlanskys to illegally obtain $167 million from the bank and its clients. E.S. Bankest was a joint venture of the bank and Bankest Capital, which was formed by the Orlanskys. Experts say it’s highly unusual for the government to seek payback of attorney fees, particularly in nondrug cases, and this may be a first for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami. “This is very rare,” said Miami attorney Scott Srebnick, who is also fighting forfeiture claims on behalf of his client, former Hamilton Bank Chairman Eduardo A. Masferrer.


Anonymous said...

Total Bullshit. The government should be estopped from doing this because they waited till the end of trial. This should have been raised well in advance. Simple solution:

Government would have had to pay attorneys fees for the defendants via CJA or PDs office if they informed the private attorneys and they had withdrawn. But, they held off because they did not want to foot the bill. Shoat and Lehr should sue the govenment for (1) Fraud and (2) Unjust Enrichment (accepting services and not paying for them).

Anonymous said...

had they pled and cooperated, this would not have happened - how sad