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Mayer Brown Partner Convicted in Refco Fraud

Posted Jul 13, 2009 6:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins was convicted Friday of securities fraud and four other charges for his role in hiding financial problems from investors in the trading firm Refco Inc.

Collins, who is on leave from Mayer Brown, closed his eyes and bowed his head as the jury foreman read the verdict, the New York Law Journal reports. Collins was convicted of conspiracy and two counts each of securities fraud and wire fraud, according to the legal publication and the Chicago Tribune.

U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson of Manhattan declared a mistrial on nine other counts. Two jurors told Bloomberg the jury had deadlocked 11-1 on those counts, and the holdout was a juror who frequently pointed out other panel members. The holdout had told the judge last week that a female juror had threatened to cut off his finger and had said her husband would “take care of you.”

Collins had maintained that Refco executives had lied to him about financial issues. He testified he didn’t spend much time preparing documents for back-to-back loans made to hedge funds that would send money back to a company, RGHI, partly owned by Refco’s CEO. Instead, Collins said, he delegated much of the work to an associate.

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