White-Collar Crime

Ex-associate admits scheme to divert $453K in law firm funds, takes federal wire fraud plea

An ex-associate of a Louisiana law firm pleaded guilty to a wire fraud count Wednesday in federal court in Baton Rouge and admitted a scheme to get $453,123 of Crawford Lewis funds for his own use.

James M. “Tres” Bernhard III, 36, settled last summer a civil lawsuit brought against him by his former firm, after permanently resigning from law practice earlier in the year, reports the Advocate.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in May.

The son of the founder and chief officer of the Shaw Group Inc., Bernhard reportedly has been under a psychiatrist’s care and is taking prescribed medication.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Associate of Law Firm Charged With Wire Fraud, Accused of Obtaining $453K from Trust Account”

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