Really! Who knew it was illegal to steal from lawyers!
Former Controller for Washington, D.C. Law Firm Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge in Theft of More Than $960,000 Defendant Shifted Money from Firm’s Bank Accounts
Why is the Dept. of Justice protecting the identity of the lawyers that Marc England admitted stealing from?
WASHINGTON—Marc England, 44, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from his theft of over $960,000 from a Washington, D.C. law firm, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
England, of Covington, La., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of wire fraud. The Honorable Judge Tanya S. Chutkan scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2, 2014. Under federal sentencing guidelines, England faces a likely range of 33 to 41 months of incarceration, as well as a fine of up to $75,000. The government maintains that the victim’s losses total at least $961,404. Under the plea agreement, England also must pay restitution to the victim. England is subject to an additional forfeiture money judgment.
According to the government’s evidence, England worked at a firm identified in court documents as “Company A,” a small law firm in Washington, D.C., as the company’s controller. Beginning in August 2008, England began sending wire payments from the law firm’s bank account directly to various credit card accounts that he himself held. For some of the unauthorized transactions, England used the firm’s electronic accounts system to create fraudulent invoices appearing on their face to justify his unauthorized debits. Over the course of a four-year period, England caused the firm to execute 126 separate interstate wire transfers of monies from the firm’s checking account to various accounts held by England.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge McCabe commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Donna Galindo, Corinne Kleinman, and Angela Lawrence; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine K. Connelly and Arvind K. Lal, who handled forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard DiZinno, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.
(Editor’s Note: This information about this guilty plea was provided by the Department of Justice – which are lawyers- and the victims in this case who are NOT identified — are lawyers. In most cases involving theft from companies, corporations or non-profit organizations, the identity of the organization is released. One good reason the government lawyers have in protecting the private lawyers is that the guilty guy in this case was in charge of the financial transactions of the law firm and clearly was unsupervised. That brings to question the fiduciary relationship of the lawyers to their clients as most law firms are in possession of major funds of clients held in trust funds for various time frames. Releasing the identity of the law firm just might make some clients wonder if their money is safe or ask for an accounting of the funds. In most cases, a controller of a firm would be required to be bonded but one would expect that a bonding agency would require an audit.
As is usual, sources of information provided to the citizens by the government is subject to scrutiny as often the government view of reality differs from the truth itself. A cursory Google review of Marc England’s name and Washington D.C. found several references to his work history on various professional listing sites. Beyond.com lists England’s employer from February 2013 to October of 2013 as Adams Reese LLP, not exactly the “small DC law firm as characterized by the Dept. of Justice as it has 16 locations. England worked as the controller for Adams Reese as well as Curry and Friend; and at Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman, LLP. Additional information on prior employers as well as the detailed duties of Marc England in the financial activities of each law firm is available for anyone to see until such time as one of these law firms pays Beyond.com to remove the references.
Reviewing the DOJ release of information about the guilty plea it may be the unnamed law firm is Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman LLP, as he worked at that firm in the years noted in the government filings. England’s later employment at the firms of Adams Reese LLP and Curry and Friend may have endangered client funds as well as funds of the firms but it could be that there have not been audits performed.
Clients of Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman LLP might like to know that England was “responsible for all aspects of the billing of client invoices for the firm…” according to information posted on Beyond.com.)