The Talent

July 10, 2009 5:43 PM

Mayer Brown's Collins Found Guilty

Posted by Susan Beck

Late Friday afternoon we got word that Joseph Collins, the 59-year-old corporate partner on leave from Mayer Brown, was found guilty by a Manhattan federal jury of five counts in his criminal trial. The charges included conspiracy, two counts of securities fraud, and two counts of wire fraud. A mistrial was declared on nine other counts.

The New York Law Journal has an account from inside the courtroom here.

Collins had been accused of helping Refco's top executives hide $2.4 billion in losses at the now-defunct trading company. Collins claimed that he had been duped by his longtime client, and didn't know they were using him to facilitate their fraud. Collins was defended by William Schwartz of Cooley Godward Kronish. 

We wrote about Collins and his long relationship with Refco in this 2008 American Lawyer feature story.

Collins took the stand in his defense during the eight-week trial. Two Weil Gotshal partners also testified as government witnesses. The Weil lawyers represented Thomas H. Lee Partners, which bought a majority interest in Refco, and took Refco public in 2005. 

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Of course the Weil attorneys have an incentive to remember the facts a certain way. It makes them look a whole lot better if they can say they were duped than to admit they did a crappy job of due diligence.

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