White-Collar Crime

Ex-Mayer Brown Partner Joseph Collins Guilty on 7 Counts in Case re Fraud By Former Refco Execs

An ex-partner of Mayer Brown was found guilty Friday by a federal jury in Manhattan of seven of the 10 counts he faced for allegedly helping then-executives of the Refco Inc. commodities brokerage perpetrate a $2.4 billion fraud on investors.

Joseph Collins was convicted of conspiracy, securities and wire fraud for helping conceal the company’s true financial condition from investors who helped it raise $670 million in an initial public offering a few months before Refco collapsed in 2005, resulting in a huge bankruptcy. He was acquitted on bank fraud and additional wire fraud counts, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.

His defense counsel says he intends to appeal the conviction.

“Over and over and over again, Collins ignored his duties as an officer of the court by actively participating in the crimes of his client–telling blatant lies, falsifying important documents, and concealing others,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a written statement after the verdict.

In an earlier trial, Collins had been convicted of five counts in the corporate securities fraud case, although the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on nine other counts, and sentenced to seven years in prison. However, his conviction was reversed due to way a judge handled a note the court received from a juror.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in March. The fraud charges carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “2nd Circuit Axes Refco Lawyer’s Conviction in $2.4B Fraud Case, Says Judge Erred re Juror Note”

ABAJournal.com: “Retrial Begins for Ex-Mayer Brown Partner Accused of Aiding Refco Fraud”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “Former Refco Lawyer Found Guilty Over Role in Fraud”

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