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The Catch-22 of any massive fraud case is that defendants, accused of breaking the law to enrich themselves, must figure out ways to pay top-dollar defense lawyers without betraying any sign of those alleged riches. And when the amount in question is an estimated $20 million and perhaps more, the problem is all the more difficult to solve. “I can tell you, in these kind of cases there’s always a concern with regard to where the money flows from and what money is tainted by the allegations, and we’re examining that as part of our investigation into the government’s claims,” says Reed Smith partner A. Scott Bolden. Bolden is representing Diane Gustus, a D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue employee who authorities say participated in the largest theft scheme ever uncovered in local government in the Washington area. Gustus and Harriette Walters, a tax assessment manager, were arrested last week and each charged with 10 felony counts of conspiracy and fraud for allegedly preparing and approving nearly 60 bogus tax refund checks. Bolden says that he is a friend of the Gustus family and that he was called on Nov. 7, shortly after her arrest. When asked about his compensation, Bolden declined to comment. “It is a delicate subject, as well as an important subject,” he says. “But I’m not concerned about that affecting my representation of her.” DLA Piper’s Peter Zeidenberg is representing Walters. He was hired on Nov. 8, but only for presentment (at press time, Gustus and Walters had not been indicted). “We don’t know if we’ll be retained beyond that,” he says. Zeidenberg would not discuss how he came to represent Walters, saying only that it was “a long, convoluted tale.”
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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