A former Baker & McKenzie partner has been disbarred after pleading guilty to taking money from clients and to participating in a securities scheme. Martin E. Weisberg pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud just as jury selection in his trial before Eastern District Judge Nicholas Garaufis was to begin (NYLJ, May 22, 2012).
With regard to the money laundering charge, he was accused of telling three clients he would place $30 million in an escrow account for them but that the account would not earn interest for their benefit. He then deposited the money in an interest-bearing account that generated $1.6 million between August 2006 and October 2007. Prosecutors claim Weisberg stole $1.3 million. On the conspiracy charge, he admitted he had agreed to file false disclosure documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a scheme to conceal coconspirators’ ownership and control of securities issued by two public companies.
A panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, ruled on Jan. 15 that the federal conspiracy charge was equivalent to the New York state felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, triggering the mandatory disbarment. According to panel, Weisberg, who was admitted in 1976, consented to the action. Presiding Justice Luis Gonzalez (See Profile) and Justices David Saxe (See Profile), Sheila Abdus-Salaam (See Profile), Sallie Manzanet-Daniels (See Profile) and Nelson Roman (See Profile) sat on the panel in Matter of Weisberg, M-3601.