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October 20, 2010 5:19 PM

Ex-Greenberg Lawyer Pleads Guilty to $500,000 Fraud

Posted by David Bario

Former Greenberg Traurig associate Michael Shaw pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing nearly $500,000 from the firm between 2002 and last year, when the scheme was discovered and he was fired. [Hat Tip: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.]

Federal prosecutors charged Shaw with assuming the identity of a Greenberg investigator, using the investigator's name to charge for $90,000 in services that he himself performed, and then pocketing the money himself.

In addition, prosecutors said, Shaw billed the firm about $425,000 for title examination services he performed under the name of a fictitious vendor, according to the AJC. (Click here to read the government's Aug. 9 criminal information against Shaw.) 

According to a guilty plea and plea agreement entered before Atlanta federal district court judge Willis Hunt, Jr., on Wednesday morning, Shaw has already paid $524,947 to "a victim of the fraud"--presumably Greenberg.

The agreement states that Shaw is subject to a maximum prison term of 30 years and a maximum penalty of $1,000,000. The government agreed to recommend sentencing terms "at the low end of the applicable guideline range."

Shaw, 37, was a bankruptcy and foreclosure associate in Greenberg's Atlanta office. The firm did not respond to phone calls and e-mails seeking comment on Wednesday. The plea agreement names Steven Sadow of Atlanta's Schulten, Ward & Turner as Shaw's lawyer.

The last time we checked in on Shaw's case, he had just lost a battle with Georgia's supreme court over the terms of his suspension from practicing law. Shaw sought a two-to-four-year suspension. The court said that was too light. 

With Shaw now facing up to 30 years behind bars, it appears that the court had the right idea. 

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