White-Collar Crime

Criminal lawyer accused of charging clients $1M for 'guaranteed' dismissals gets 15 years

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A Texas criminal defense attorney was sentenced by a federal judge on Tuesday to 15 years in a conspiracy that, according to trial testimony, involved bilking clients of big bucks for bribes that were never paid.

Abraham Moses Fisch, 56, through his defense counsel, made last-minute arguments to delay sentencing, to reduce the prison term and to be allowed to turn himself in later rather than be handcuffed and taken into custody in the courtroom.

But the judge said Fisch had to begin serving his sentence right away in the Houston case, citing “obvious risks” to allowing him to remain free on bond, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Convicted by a jury in May of 18 charges including conspiracy, money laundering and failure to file tax returns, Fisch persuaded his clients to pay over $1 million for “guaranteed” dismissals, through the help of former clients and others said in trial testimony, a Department of Justice news release reported at that time. He was ordered to forfeit nearly $1.2 million.

On Tuesday, at his sentencing, Fisch called the criminal case “one of the most humbling experiences of my life,” the Chronicle reports. The judge permitted him to say goodbye to his wife and turn over personal items before he was taken away.

That was a courtesy not granted to her own son, Joey Herrera, one of Fisch’s former clients, when he also got a 15-year prison term, in 2009, in a federal drug case and was taken into custody in court, a woman who gave her name as S. Herrera, told the Chronicle. The two said in court documents that they paid Fisch $80,000 in cash, based on the attorney’s alleged claim that he could get Herrera released.

“I hope he feels exactly the anxiety, the loss and the helplessness that my son felt when they took him,” the mother said Tuesday of Fisch. “I feel karma. I feel that justice was done. I feel that maybe he should have gotten more. He knew what he was doing. He left people hanging.”

Hat tip: Associated Press

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Attorney is convicted of conspiring to bilk criminal defense clients out of big bucks”

Houston Press: “Houston Attorney Convicted of Screwing Over Criminals”

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