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$700 million fraud gets lawyer 20 years in prison

  • Story Highlights
  • New York attorney Marc Dreier, 59, sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday
  • In May, he pleaded guilty to defrauding hedge funds of about $700 million
  • Dreier was also ordered to pay more than $387 million in restitution
  • Documents: "He impersonated clients" and executed "elaborate charades"
From Chris Kokenes and Jesse Solomon
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York attorney Marc Dreier, who pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding hedge funds of about $700 million, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

In May, Dreier, 59, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He faced possible maximum prison time of 145 years.

"When you turn to the facts of the crime that Mr. Dreier committed, one must be appalled," U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said in sentencing Dreier, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.

In addition to his sentence, Dreier was ordered to pay more than $387 million in restitution and to forfeit more than $746 million "in proceeds of his offenses, including real estate, vehicles, bank accounts and a number of works of art," according to the news release.

Prosecutors alleged that from 2002 to 2008, Dreier sold fake promissory notes and misappropriated client funds from his law firm. Losses to Dreier's clients and purchasers of the various fake notes exceeded $400 million, but Dreier himself collected over $700 million in profits from the fake sales, prosecutors said.

According to court documents filed last week by the U.S. attorney's office, "He impersonated clients -- in person and on the phone -- and recruited others to execute elaborate charades."

Dreier is the founder and managing partner of Dreier LLP, a law firm of more than 250 attorneys with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and elsewhere in the country, federal officials said.

Dreier was arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport in December 2008 upon returning from Canada, where he attempted to impersonate one of his clients in order to sell a $44.7 million note, according to prosecutors.

CNN's Emily Anderson contributed to this report.

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