White-Collar Crime

Ex-Partner Is Federally Indicted re Claimed Laundering, Via Law Firm, of Client's $8K Campaign Gifts

Updated: A former Herzog Crebs partner who served on the St. Louis-based law firm’s management committee has been federally indicted in St. Louis along with a former governor of Missouri on accusations of helping a corporate client of the law firm launder a total of $8,000 in election campaign contributions to the current governor, Jay Nixon, via the Missouri Democratic Party.

Edward Griesedieck III and ex-governor Roger Wilson each face a federal misdemeanor charge of misappropriation of money by someone in the insurance business. At worst, it could put them in prison for a year, if they are convicted, but it is likely that they would get only probation, according to the Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Business Journal. They could also be fined as much as $100,000.

The client, Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co., is a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company whose board is controlled by the governor.

The indictment says the law firm made two 2009 donations, of $5,000 and $3,000, that actually were funded by MEM. Griesedieck allegedly made a $5,000 campaign contribution for which he was reimbursed by billing MEM for that amount as a “cost advance.” Another $3,000 was covered by a personal check from Wilson, the indictment says, also asserting that Wilson had knowledge of both payments and approved them.

A subsequent update Thursday by the Post-Dispatch said Wilson pleaded guilty later in the day and will be sentenced in July. He now faces a maximum of six months, rather than one year, in prison. Griesedieck, the newspaper said, is expected to take a plea as well, relying on information from his attorney, Matt Schelp.

The Associated Press earlier reported that Wilson did not return phone messages and Griesedieck does not have a listed phone number.

Griesedieck is no longer listed on the Herzog firm’s website, and a reporter for the Post-Dispatch was told Wednesday that he no longer works there. The AP reports that partner A. Fuller Glaser Jr. said the firm and Griesedieck agreed on his departure earlier this week.

Herzog Crebs was not itself accused of doing anything wrong, Glaser said, and “regrets the unfortunate misjudgment of its former partner Edward Griesedieck, which was contrary to our values. We also regret not having sufficient safeguards in place at the time. We have since strengthened those safeguards to prevent future incidents.”

The Columbia Daily Tribune also has a story.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. to include information about plea by Wilson and potential plea by Griesedieck.

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