(Photo by Maggie Soladay)

Following a nearly two-year investigation that began as Dewey & LeBoeuf spiraled toward death, its former chairman, Steven Davis; its former executive director, Stephen DiCarmine; and its ex-chief financial officer, Joel Sanders; were accused today of “concocting and overseeing a massive effort to cook the books” at the firm.

Sanders moved to Fort Lauderdale-based Greenspoon Marder as chief financial officer after Dewey’s collapse.

“Fraud is not an acceptable accounting practice,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in announcing the indictments of Davis, DiCarmine, Sanders and a fourth former Dewey employee, Zachary Warren, who served as client relations manager for the firm. “Their wrongdoing contributed to the collapse of a prestigious international law firm, which forced thousands of people out of jobs and left creditor holding the bad on hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The state indictments charge Davis with 15 counts of first-degree grand larceny, one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, one count of securities fraud and 49 counts of first-degree falsifying business methods, all of which are felonies.

Davis, who has insisted he did nothing wrong, also faces a misdemeanor count of fifth-degree conspiracy. The other defendants face similar charges, with DiCarmine charged with 46 counts of falsifying business records and Sanders charged with 88 counts of that crime.

Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders also are named in a parallel case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with Dewey’s 2010 bond offering. Also named in the SEC civil complaint are Dewey finance director Frank Canellas and the firm’s former controller, Thomas Mullikin.

The criminal and civil cases come a little less than two years after the product of the 2007 merger between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene, and MacRae filed for Chapter 11 protection in the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history amid a flood of partner defections and mounting questions about Dewey’s financial condition.

The criminal investigation into what role Davis and the other firm leaders may have played in Dewey’s collapse grew out of complaints taken to Vance’s office by former partners who felt they had been deceived.