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A former associate at White & Case has received a jail sentence for stealing more than $111,000 from her law firm and for helping her boyfriend orchestrate a scheme that defrauded investors, including a number of White & Case employees, of more than $260,000. Jennifer M. Hampton was sentenced last month by Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Renee White to a prison term of 1-1/2 to 4 years. Hampton pleaded guilty last November to charges of first-degree fraud and second-degree grand larceny. At the sentencing, White castigated the 34-year-old former lawyer, who earned a six-figure salary as a White & Case associate, for turning to crime to support an ostentatious lifestyle. “[T]here is no reason for this,” the judge said. “You weren’t in need of money. All you were interested in was a very high lifestyle, living in the best hotels, [throwing] the best parties that everybody will go [to], spending other people’s money.” More than 30 people fell victim to the scheme by Hampton and her boyfriend, Anthony Burges, 35, who promised investors huge profits on supposed foreign currency trades, according to court records. The couple told prospective investors Burges was achieving returns of up to 50 percent a month through his currency trading. Some investors were told their investments had grown enormously in value. But rather than investing the money, the couple, both 1997 graduates of the Fordham University School of Law, spent it on personal items including clothing, stays at expensive Manhattan hotels and a lavish New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31, 2001. The victims, mostly friends, relatives and co-workers of the pair, included Hampton’s own secretary at White & Case, as well as another secretary and a clerical employee at the law firm. A fellow associate at the firm was one of the largest individual victims of the scheme, losing more than $18,000. Other victims’ losses ranged from $1,000 to $36,000. “Obviously you destroyed any trust that they have in people for the rest of their lives,” White told Hampton at her sentencing. The investors were not the only source of income for the couple. According to court documents, Hampton charged $111,913 in personal expenses to the corporate American Express card issued to her by White & Case, whose intellectual property practice she joined in 1999. Burges was never admitted to practice law. Philip Schaeffer, the partner at White & Case who acts as general counsel for the firm, said he confronted Hampton about the charges soon after he was alerted to them by American Express in early 2002. Though she confessed to spending the money with Burges and promised to repay it, Schaeffer said, he learned of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) case against Burges and fired Hampton immediately. The SEC civil suit against Burges did not name Hampton as a defendant. It made accusations similar to the criminal indictment brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which charged Hampton and Burges as co-defendants in the fraud scheme but charged Hampton alone for the theft from White & Case. Burges pleaded guilty to the criminal charges last year and was sentenced to 2-1/3 to 7 years. The SEC case was resolved in December 2002, when Southern District Judge Victor Marrerro ordered Burges to disgorge $266,126 with interest and pay a $60,000 civil penalty. Schaeffer said he thought Hampton was a troubled young woman who may have come under the sway of an unsavory boyfriend. “We’re very, very sorry for her,” he said. “I think she’s not a miscreant or criminal by nature.” Schaeffer would not comment on Hampton’s defrauding of White & Case employees. The associate whom Hampton defrauded said she persuaded employees at the firm to invest in her scheme by regaling them with anecdotes about her lavish lifestyle and flashing jewelry she said was extremely expensive. He said she wore a great deal of makeup and her extravagant clothes “were not Brooks Brothers.” Another former co-worker, who was unaware of Hampton’s scheme, also recalled her heavy makeup and expensive clothes. The associate said Hampton’s position as a lawyer at the well-respected 1,680-attorney firm gave her claims credibility in the eyes of her victims. He said he felt “hurt, betrayed and pretty stupid” for having been deceived by Hampton, adding that he found her actions inexplicable given her education and career prospects. According to her original plea agreement, Hampton would have avoided jail time by making restitution to her victims. She agreed to pay $50,000 as a first payment and $5,000 a month thereafter until she had paid $346,839 to a restitution fund. She would have been sentenced to five year’s probation. Though she was disbarred in February, she claimed to have an income of $12,000 a month. At the time of her sentencing, she was associated with a company called the Hampton Acquisition Alliance. According to its Web site, the company was “founded by attorneys with years of experience in mergers and acquisitions at the nation’s top law firms” and is in the business of representing the buyers and sellers of businesses with revenue between $50,000 and $100 million. White sentenced Hampton to jail after she failed to make her first restitution payment, invalidating the plea agreement. Assistant District Attorney Melissa Paolella urged the court to incarcerate Hampton, saying that “it bodes very poorly for a probationary sentence that this defendant could not comply with this court’s first directive.” Hampton is in the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, a boot-camp prison near Buffalo. White ordered Hampton, who will be eligible for parole in August 2005, to pay 10 percent of her monthly gross income to a restitution fund after her release from prison. Hampton’s lawyer, Steven Brill of Sullivan & Brill, could not be reached for comment.

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