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June 30, 2009 12:02 PM

Sentencing Order for ex-Latham Partner Decries Double Life

Posted by Susan Beck

We have more information on the sentencing of former Latham & Watkins partner Samuel Fishman, who was ordered last Friday to spend 15 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud. As we reported yesterday, the 51-year-old New York lawyer was accused of repeatedly passing off personal expenses, such as meals and parking charges, as business expenses, and of inflating legitimate expenses. Over 13 years, the government alleged, Fishman falsified more than $300,000 in charges.

Manhattan federal district judge Victor Marrero's sentencing order now is publicly available and can be found here. (The sentencing memos submitted by the government and by Fishman's lawyers at Litman, Asche & Gioiella still are not available on the court's Web site. The government has, however, asked the court to make its memo public.)

Judge Marrero begins by noting that Fishman's lawyers had argued that their client should get a lighter sentence, citing his extraordinary civic and charitable activities. The judge also acknowledged the "outpouring of support" for Fishman from friends, business colleagues, community leaders, and even some victims. Marrero noted that Fishman's lawyers had argued that their client's criminal conduct was driven by "some recently diagnosed medical disorder, or ungovernable impulse, [or] other unknown inner or outer demon he could not conquer."

Still, the judge apparently was in no mood to be lenient. Echoing themes from the Bernard Madoff saga, Marrero wrote an impassioned condemnation of this "subset of white-collar criminal" who appear to be "distinguished, reputable, highly esteemed model citizens."

"For all their outward rectitude, these otherwise good people suffer a fatal flaw: they sometimes lead a double life. Somewhere at the core, in a distorted dimension of the soul, the public image they present is as false as the lies they tell to sustain the appearances of an exemplary life.... It is precisely the defendant's mantle of integrity and benevolence that serves as cover for an invidious end, enabling him to move about his game undetected, the better to prey upon those who least expect it."

In a separate sentencing document, found here, Judge Marrero recommended that Fishman serve his time at the federal prison in Otisville, New York, in Orange County. According to the prison's Web site, the institution includes a medium-security facility and a minimum-security satellite prison camp. Fishman has been ordered to report there on August 25. As part of his sentence, he must participate in an alcohol aftercare treatment program, and a mental health program.

The sentencing document also states that Fishman's restitution of $350,000 will be paid out of his capital account at Latham.

We'll report back if the sentencing memos become public.

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