White-Collar Crime

Lawyer accused of hiding real estate client funds in trust account is convicted of bankruptcy fraud

An attorney accused of helping a client who was once a successful real estate developer conceal a substantial sum of money in a law firm trust account has been convicted in federal court in Arkansas following weeks of trial.

K. Vaughn Knight, 46, of Fayetteville was convicted Monday of eight counts, including money laundering and bankruptcy fraud, by a federal jury in Fort Smith, Arkansas Business reports. He faces a potential maximum sentence of up to five years or more in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count when he is sentenced.

The former client, Brandon Barber, pleaded guilty in July to money laundering and conspiring to commit bankruptcy fraud and bank fraud concerning his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Prosecutors said Vaughn concealed in his trust account some of the $200 million that Barber borrowed under false pretenses and transferred money from the trust account to other locations.

Defense lawyers for Knight argued that he was a victim of Barber’s schemes, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Another lawyer, James Van Doren of New York, who was a business associate of Barber, pleaded guilty in August to money laundering.

A third attorney defendant, David Fisher of Rogers, Ark., was accused of conspiring with Barber and additional defendants to commit bank fraud, but acquitted last month after a jury trial.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “3rd lawyer is federally indicted, accused of aiding developer in claimed real estate loan fraud”

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