White-Collar Crime

Former Legal Chief for US Arm of Fujitec Is Accused of Stealing $180K via Fake Claims and Expenses

The former chief legal and administrative officer for the United States arm of an international Japan-based elevator manufacturing company has been indicted on charges that he stole $180,000 from his employer via faked legal matters and expenses.

Darren Courtney, 48, was indicted Friday by a grand jury in Warren County, Ohio, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer on its MasonBuzz.com blog.

He faces four felony charges including telecommunications fraud; two theft counts; and tampering with records.

Courtney is accused of creating fake matters throughout the country for which he allegedly had Fujitec America Inc. issue $150,000 in settlement checks that were purportedly being sent to law firms representing the plaintiffs. However, like the matters, the law firms didn’t exist, says Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

Prosecutors say Courtney opened bank accounts in the name of the fake law firms and cashed the checks, the newspaper reports. He is also accused of charging Fujitec for another $30,000 in fraudulent expenses. The claimed thefts took place over an approximately two-year period that ended early in 2012.

Courtney, who had been with Fujitec for 13 years, is now in private practice. The article doesn’t include any comment from him or his counsel and Courtney referred the ABA Journal to his lawyer, Mark Byrne of Jacobs Kleinman Seibel & McNally, who did not immediately respond to a phone message left at his law office.

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “In-House Legal Chief Is Accused of Creating Fake Law Firm and Sending It $9M in Payments”

ABAJournal.com: “Company’s Civil Suit Says In-House Legal Chief Used Fake Law Firms to Add Millions to $110K Salary”

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