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Phony Associate Pleads Guilty to Grand LarcenyValery admits he stole more than $200,000 from firm by collecting lawyer's salary for almost two years
Brian T. Valery convinced everyone that he had earned his position at a major Manhattan law firm. But by billing clients based on a lawyer's salary, he was actually stealing money. That's because Valery never was a lawyer in the first place, having fabricated most everything about his legal background, from his Fordham Law School education to his passing of the New York bar exam. On Wednesday, the former Anderson, Kill & Olick employee pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny.
The Connecticut Law Tribune2007-10-11 12:00:00 AM
Brian T. Valery convinced colleagues, clients and judicial officials that he had earned his position at a major Manhattan law firm. But by billing Norwalk, Conn., client Purdue Pharma based on his lawyer's salary, he was actually stealing money. That's because Valery never was a lawyer in the first place.
When he applied for -- and was later granted -- pro hac vice admission in 2005 in Stamford Superior Court, he signed an affidavit attesting to his status as a New York lawyer in good standing. Little did anyone know that the Anderson, Kill & Olick employee had fabricated most everything about his legal background, from his Fordham Law School education to his passing of the New York bar exam.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny. New York State Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro said he would sentence Valery to five years probation if he repays at least $150,000 by his Jan. 30 sentencing. If he fails to make restitution, the judge could send Valery, 32, of Massapequa, N.Y., to prison for five to 15 years.
He admits he stole more than $200,000 from the firm by collecting a lawyer's salary for almost two years.
Valery started as a paralegal at Anderson Kill in 1998, earning $21,000 a year, spokeswoman Jennifer Kushner of the Manhattan district attorney's office said after his arrest. He then falsely claimed he later got his law degree and passed the bar.
Valery told his managers that he had graduated from Fordham in May 2002, that he had passed the bar exam in July 2003, and that he was admitted to practice law in October 2004, Kushner said.
He worked as a lawyer at the firm until October 2006, when officers there discovered the deceit. Only a telephone call to Anderson Kill from one of Valery's college friends tipped off the New York firm, according to an investigation conducted last year by Connecticut Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark A. Dubois. The friend apparently couldn't find Valery's name among registered New York lawyers, but found him listed as an Anderson Kill attorney. The call raised red flags at Anderson Kill. By then, the Connecticut case involving Purdue Pharma had settled.
Valery did not litigate in court.
This story includes reports from the Associated Press.