White-Collar Crime

Double Whammy for Ex-BigLaw Partner Both Arrested & Sued by SEC Today re Alleged Role in $20M Fraud

A former partner of Winston & Strawn was both arrested today and sued today by the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that he had a role in a former New York money manager’s theft of more than $20 million from investors’ accounts.

Jonathan Star Bristol, 55, was federally indicted for alleged money-laundering by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, according to the American Lawyer and Bloomberg.

Bristol is accused in a parallel SEC lawsuit of aiding and abetting Kenneth Ira Starr (a graduate of Brooklyn Law School who is no relation to the former independent counsel) by funneling stolen investor funds through attorney trust accounts that he never disclosed to his law firm.

The statements for the trust accounts, which were used for this purpose between November 2008 and May 2010, went to Bristol’s home instead of his law firm, the suit contends.

“Bristol had a legal and professional responsibility not to assist Ken Starr in conduct he knew was unlawful,” says George Canellos, the director of the SEC’s New York regional office, in a SEC press release. “Bristol crossed the line from lawyer to conspirator when he failed to safeguard funds entrusted to him, helped Starr steal client money, and lied to the victims to perpetuate the scheme.”

The release also links to the civil complaint (PDF) filed today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The American Lawyer provides a link to the criminal indictment (PDF).

Starr, who pleaded guilty in September to defrauding investors including a number of celebrities of up to $60 million, was expected to be sentenced this week, according to a New York Daily News article published after his guilty plea.

It appears, however, that Starr has not yet been sentenced at this time.

A Winston & Strawn spokesman did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal request for comment.

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