Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lawyers Indicted in Ponzi Scheme

Two Fort Lauderdale attorneys have been indicted in a nearly $1 billion Ponzi scheme known as Mutual Benefits.

Mutual Benefits dealt in viaticals, buying life insurance policies from the terminally ill, elderly and people with AIDS. It made money if the policyholder died ahead of actuarial schedules or on time. The company described the investment as safe enough for investors saving for college or retirement.

Michael McNerney handled almost all of Mutual Benefits' legal matters, and his firm Brinkley Morgan Solomon & Tatum served as closing agent on investment transactions, according to the 25-count indictment filed Dec. 23. McNerney left the firm in early 2006. The law firm is not charged in the indictment.

Prosecutors say Anthony Livoti Jr. was "purportedly responsible for safeguarding investor monies set aside to pay policy premiums and for actually making premium payments."

Both lawyers are charged with money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy. Also charged are executives of the defunct Mutual Benefits: brothers Joel Steinger and Steven Steiner. Another brother linked to the company, Leslie Steiner, died of pancreatic cancer.

Nine other officials connected with Mutual Benefits have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison, including company president Peter Lombardi, who is serving a 20-year term.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyers' Indictment in Huge Ponzi Scheme Shocks Legal Circles


Anonymous said...

Anytime lawyers are caught ripping people off, they should automatically receive the maximum sentence.

Holding lawyers accountable for a change would clean up the profession.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers' Indictment in Huge Ponzi Scheme Shocks Legal Circles ~ really?

I am not shocked at what they did, I am surprised that they got caught.