Skimping on due diligence when it comes to working with new clients can bear heavy consequences for law firms, such as Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, which is in the midst of negotiating a $45 million settlement to make up for a former attorney’s alleged role in helping a merchant cash loan business and an investment services firm defraud investors of nearly $500 million. 

The law firm and former partner John Pauciulo are in hot water for their representation of an investment firm that solicited investors for Par Funding, a Philadelphia lending outfit whose owners are now subject to a raft of criminal charges. In the process of going after Par and investment firm A Better Financial Plan, the Securities and Exchange Commission censured Pauciulo for omitting details of risks in materials he prepared for potential investors.