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Formerly high-flying Atlanta lawyer Nathan Hardwick IV’s criminal trial starts on Monday, two-and-a-half years after federal prosecutors indicted him for allegedly embezzling millions from his now-bankrupt law firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

Nathan Hardwick, Atlanta Nathan Hardwick IV, Atlanta

The government alleges that Hardwick stole almost $21 million from MHS’s client escrow accounts from 2011 through the end of July 2014 and spent almost $16 million on charter jets, casinos, bookies and women alone. Hardwick was the majority owner of the residential real estate closing and foreclosure firm—once one of the largest in the nation, with about 800 employees in 13 states.

The case, which is being tried by assistant U.S. attorneys J. Russell Phillips, Doug Gilfillan and Lynsey Barron, could hinge on their ability to convince jurors that Hardwick’s “lavish spending” was fueled by funds that they must demonstrate Hardwick unlawfully siphoned from MHS.

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Meredith Hobbs

Meredith Hobbs writes about the Atlanta legal community and the business of law. Contact her at [email protected] or 404.419.2837. On Twitter: @MeredithHobbs.

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