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White-Collar Crime

Attorney Marc Dreier Gets 20 Years in $400M Fraud

Posted Jul 13, 2009 6:29 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had asked for a prison term of 145 years for Marc Dreier.

But the once-prominent New York lawyer got a lot less time from U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff today: 20 years for what Dreier himself described in a letter to the court last week as a "quicksand of spending" and lavish living that doomed the Park Avenue law firm he founded, according to Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

The articles don't explain why Rakoff decided to sentence the 59-year-old to a prison term closer to the 10 years sought by defense counsel. However, he apologized in court for the harm he had caused and expressed shame and resignation over a long prison sentence in the letter, the AP recounts.

"I will always be remembered as a thief. I have lost my past and my future," he writes. "I have lost everything a man can lose. And now I will lose my freedom as well, and rightly so."

Dreier bilked hedge funds and other sophisticated investors out of some $400 million via the sale of phony promissory notes and also misappropriated client funds, according to prosecutors. He had frequently been compared in the media to Bernard Madoff, another now-infamous swindler who operated an even bigger scam under the guise of a hedge fund that came to light soon after Dreier's name hit the news.

However, in the Madoff case federal prosecutors asked for—and got—a maximum 150-year prison sentence for the convicted defendant.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Dreier Seeking 12½-year Sentence for Fraud Scheme; Prosecutors Want Life"

ABAJournal.com: "Dreier’s High-Adrenaline Life on the Edge"

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