A former partner at Latham & Watkins was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $350,000 in restitution to Latham for defrauding both clients and his own firm.
Samuel A. Fishman, 51, of Fairlawn, N.J., a mergers and acquisitions specialist in the firm's New York office from 1993 to 2005, pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud in March 2008. He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Fishman admitted that he had billed fraudulent expenses to clients by mischaracterizing some nonreimbursable costs, such as local meals and parking, as other reimbursable costs, such as photocopying and express mail, and had inflated other, otherwise reimbursable expenses.
Fishman also defrauded Latham by obtaining reimbursement from the firm for personal expenses, such as hotel bills, by falsely claiming that they were business expenses.
At his sentencing, Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrera said that Fishman was "not just an ordinary citizen or offender but an officer of the court." The judge added that the lawyer had "betrayed by extensive criminal conduct" the oath he took.
Fishman, who faces disbarment, resigned from Latham when his conduct was discovered. The firm reimbursed clients for improper expenses.