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White-Collar Crime

Fake-legal-matter thefts net 90-day sentence for Fujitec’s former US legal chief

Posted May 15, 2013 2:00 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A former chief legal and administrative officer for the U.S. arm of an international Japan-based elevator manufacturing company has been sentenced to 90 days for stealing $150,000 from his then-employer for faking legal matters.

Darren Courtney reached a plea deal with prosecutors in March, but he has since been threatened with a 36-month maximum term if he doesn't start making payments to Fujitec America Inc. for the $5,000 insurance deductible it had to pay, according to the MasonBuzz.com blog of the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Dayton Daily News.

He agreed to plead guilty to one count of aggravated theft in the Warren County, Ohio, case, in exchange for the dismissal of additional felony charges of aggravated theft, telecommunications fraud and tampering with records.

The government said he obtained money for his own use by creating fictitious legal matters that he then wrote checks to "settle," according to the Daily News article.

“Monies would go to the law firm to pay the legitimate claim and in fact there was no law firm, there was no claim, it was him creating these sham issues, sending the payments out and those payments would go to a P.O. box and then would be forwarded back to him,” said prosecutor David Fornshell.

Courtney, who is expected to lose his law license as a result of the felony conviction, has started his own construction, carpentry and contracting company and hopes to get a real estate license and work as a property manager, his lawyer told the Enquirer.

Courtney had originally been accused of stealing $180,000 from his former employer, but an assistant prosecutor said he opted not to pursue another $30,000 to $40,000 in questionable expenses because “there was too much gray area.”

See also

ABAJournal.com: "Former Legal Chief for US Arm of Fujitec Is Accused of Stealing $180K via Fake Claims and Expenses"

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