White-Collar Crime

Imprisoned Ex-Lawyer Lifts Weights, Learns to Type, Is Fired and Rehired as Cook, E-Mails Friends

Once a prominent forensic accountant and attorney known for his natty attire and expertise concerning receiverships, Lew Freeman is now serving a federal prison term of more than eight years in South Florida for stealing millions while working as a court-appointed fiduciary.

But although his expensive suits and technicolor socks have been replaced with prison garb and “Egg McPrisons” rather than meals at La Loggia across from the Dade County Courthouse are the new culinary milestones in his daily life, the 60-something ex-lawyer is making the best of the situation, reports the Daily Business Review. Its lengthy article has been reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

Lifting weights under the direction of a former pro football player has helped him lose 44 pounds. He has also been fired and rehired as a microwave cook at the prison. And a typing class has made it easier for him to e-mail, via his daughter, a list of more than 100 friends, including lawyers and judges, about his prison experience,

Freeman’s crime was not minor: He is accused by prosecutors of having stolen some $6 million, since the 1990s, by more than over 160 unauthorized checks with the help of employees. His wrongdoing was discovered when he tried to persuade another employee, a former assistant state attorney general, to give him money from a receivership. The employee refused and notified the FBI, the Daily Business Review says.

However, at least one friend questions whether Freeman stole to fund a lavish lifestyle, as the government contended, and says he instead used the money to keep his employees working.

Meanwhile, the judicial system is still working on an underlying problem that helped Freeman get away with his scheme undetected for years—too much trust, the Daily Business Review reports.

“For many years, the way receiverships work, you got to know the judges, and you got appointments,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey at a receivership forum, calling Freeman’s wrongdoing the “elephant in the room.”

And “that at some level is still the current state of affairs,” she continued, “but we are working on it.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.