Thursday, August 21, 2008

"A rising legal star in Miami agrees to plea bargain involving mail fraud, laundering charges "

That's the headline from the National Law Journal article about Richard Simring. Here's the intro:

A rising Miami legal star and community activist has quietly agreed to a plea deal in which he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering in connection with his role as in-house counsel to an indicted billionaire businessman. Few in Miami have known that Richard Simring, a former partner at Stroock Stroock & Lavan and Jorden Burt, plead guilty in July in the Eastern District of Virginia and is facing possible suspension of his Florida Bar license. Simring took the plea deal, in which he faces a possible five years in prison and must testify against his former boss, before a grand jury could indict him, according to his lawyer, Brian Tannebaum of Miami's Tannebaum Weiss. "He's taking responsibility for what the government says he did," Tannebaum said. "He didn't want to roll the dice and face…a jury." Simring was charged in connection with his role as chief legal counsel to Ed Okun, a Carmel, Ca., billionaire who operated the "1031 Tax Group." The company was one that specialized in 1031 tax exchanges, a way to defer capital gains taxes by exchanging one investment property for another. U.S. v. Richard Simring, No. 3:08cr00321-REP (E.D. Va.).

Very sad.

UPDATE -- I re-read the article and this struck me:

Simring, according to the information, told Okun that he must stop transferring client funds and that he risked going to jail. In 2007, Simring became aware that Okun was continuing to misappropriate millions from clients and was on the verge of insolvency, according to the information. That's when the Okun resigned and Simring was appointed interim chief executive officer. According to the information, Simring complied with Okun's orders to continue transferring millions of dollars of client money. Simring resigned three days after assuming the role of CEO. Okun's company soon after filed for bankruptcy.

Three days!


South Florida Lawyers said...

Another smart piece by Julie Kay.

But who the hail is Richard Simring?

Anonymous said...

According to the article, "Simring is a former valedictorian at Hollywood Hills High School in Florida, a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a summa cum laude graduate of George Washington University Law School. He served as a law clerk for Rosemary Barkett, the former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, before developing a successful commercial litigation practice.Barkett now serves on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."

I know that Richard was a partner at Stroock and later at Jorden Burt. He handled some pretty significant commercial cases. I had one case against him. He was aggressive but professional. And apparently he exercised some very poor judgment in his dealings with a con artist, and threw away a very successful career. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Can you really be a rising star after 15 years of practicing law? I think you have risen or you haven't.

Anonymous said...

hey david- BREAKING FEDERAL BLOG NEWS- Judge Huck today struck the defense's attempt to introduce a favorable polygraph of the defendant in the upcoming Joe Cool trial. Saying that the issue would become "a battle of experts" Huck employed a classic 403 analysis and said the probative value would be outweighed by the potential for prejudice. Huck went on to say that while he was not adverse as a Judge to having trials that became battles of experts, he was not willing to let it happen when the underlying issue was the reliability of a polygraph.

My view is that this Judge was very clearly saying he was not going to let the Genie out of the Bottle on this case with these facts, this defendant, and this particular polygraph. The defense cannot be happy here especially since Huck spent a lot of time distinguishing the particular problems with this polygraph. He went out of his way to call this as a factual decision by a trial judge on this matter, and not an over reaching decision on the polygraph issue in general.

Anonymous said...

Fine! One more crook behind the bars!

Anonymous said...

One insider claims Simring and his lawyer, Brian Tannebaum, were outclassed and bluffed into the plea by the prosecutor:

"He pled guilty because the Asst. U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case identified Richard as an easy mark … told Richard that all others involved with Okun are pleading guilty (which was untrue) and that unless he pleads guilty he will be sentenced to 20 years in prison but that with a guilty plea he wll be sentenced to no more than two years."

"Richard receiving horrible legal advice and being frightened by the threats made by the government and at that time obviously not thinking clearly agreed to a plea."

"In the opinion of all who know Richard the plea should be withdrawn and Richard should defend himself at trial. He most certaintly will be exonerated."

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that Tannebaum and the rising legal star were bluffed and outclassed by the government. The most likely explanation is that Simring wanted to cut a deal to reduce his exposure and to is ashamed to tell hes firends he is truly guilty. So, he tells them that he pled guilty not because he is guilty but because he received poor legal advice. A quite common phenomena in the criminal justice world.

Anonymous said...

I'm pleading guilty but I am not really guilty. That's the way it is here in NC too. Isnt' that a loss of acceptance of responsibility?

Anonymous said...

"Rising legal star." Hmm Translation- makes more money than he deserves. Or maybe he takes Viagra before court. Overbilling is of course mail fraud. You younguns should lose the attitude that none of you does anything wrong when caught. This here profession is full of crooks, and they are far worse then us assholes.