Lawyer pleads guilty to paying federal court clerk for client referrals
A New Jersey criminal defense lawyer has pleaded guilty to four charges after he was accused of paying tens of thousands of dollars to a federal clerk for referring potential clients. Image from Shutterstock.
A criminal defense lawyer has pleaded guilty to four charges after he was accused of paying tens of thousands of dollars to a federal clerk in the Southern District of New York for referring potential clients.
Lawyer Telesforo “Ted” Del Valle Jr. of Leonia, New Jersey, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of conspiracy, bribery, paying illegal compensation to a court employee, and making material false statements to law enforcement to conceal his crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Del Valle, 65, was accused of paying a portion of his legal fees from referred clients to the clerk between at least 2011 and 2022. The clerk worked in the magistrate clerk’s office for the Southern District of New York, where he made data entries for criminal cases and prepared appearance bonds. Prosecutors allege that the clerk referred at least 45 criminal defendants to Del Valle.
Del Valle allegedly made false statements to federal law enforcement officials when they interviewed him about the alleged referral scheme.
Under the plea deal, Del Valle won’t appeal a prison sentence that is less than 41 months, according to Law360.
“I am ashamed and deeply regret what I have done,” he told the judge.
The clerk, Dionisio Figueroa, has entered a not guilty plea and is awaiting trial. His lawyer, federal public defender Paul Evangelista, told Law360: “Mr. Del Valle has great lawyers, and I am sure [he has] his own reasons for pleading guilty, just as Mr. Figueroa has his reasons for vigorously pursuing his innocence at a trial.”