Tom Girardi – a lawyer who has donated big money to Democrats and held a fundraiser for Joe Biden – was indicted on Wednesday.
He and Christopher Kamon, the former chief financial officer of Girardi’s LA-based law firm, were charged with five counts of wire fraud in Los Angeles which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Girardi and Kamon were accused of embezzling $15 million from clients to cover payroll and for their own personal expenses.
That includes more than $3 million in funds for family members of those who died in a Boeing plane crash.
The announcement from the Department of Justice goes into detail on how the crimes were committed.
The indictment alleges that, from 2010 to December 2020, Girardi and Kamon fraudulently obtained more than $15 million that belonged to Girardi Keese clients.
To conceal the theft and misappropriation of client settlement money, Girardi and Kamon allegedly lied to clients, stating falsely, among other things, that the settlement money had not been paid. Girardi also allegedly falsely told clients that settlement proceeds could not be disbursed until certain purported requirements had been met, such as eliminating purported tax obligations, obtaining supposedly necessary authorizations from judges, and satisfying medical liens and other debts.
Girardi and Kamon allegedly also sent lulling payments to clients, falsely representing that the payments were “advances” on purportedly yet-to-be-received settlement proceeds that, in fact, had already been deposited in Girardi Keese accounts, or were “interest payments” on the settlement money that purportedly could not be paid to the clients until the fabricated requirements were met.
For example, in July 2019, Girardi negotiated a $17.5 million settlement of a lawsuit related to injuries sustained in a car accident by two clients and their child, who was paralyzed in the crash. The settlement agreement specified that the child’s portion of the settlement money would be placed in a trust and an annuity to be controlled by a third party, neither of which could be accessed by Girardi and Kamon.
Girardi also allegedly lied to the clients, telling them that the remaining settlement funds could only be paid after medical liens had been satisfied, court proceedings had concluded and Girardi had flown to Washington, D.C., to meet with government officials to remove the settlement’s tax liability. In fact, all of this information was false and Girardi had embezzled their settlement money, the indictment alleges.
Girardi rubbed elbows with numerous Democrats.
His relatives, employees, and himself donated at least $7.5 million to elected officials and political committees across the country in 2020 – most of this money went to Democrats.
Girardi has also donated to Former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Before his downfall, Girardi cultivated close ties with a plethora of powerful Democratic politicians at all levels of government — mayors, governors, members of Congress, presidents, and presidential candidates — through large donations and lavish spending on fundraisers.
Girardi, his relatives, and employees gave at least $7.5 million in political contributions to candidates and political committees, from city council races to presidential campaigns, according to a 2020 analysis by the Los Angeles Times. Most of that money went to Democrats, including Biden, for whom Girardi also hosted a ritzy fundraiser in LA during the 2020 presidential cycle.
In addition to Biden, Girardi has given tens of thousands of dollars each to the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and a host of other elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom received a total of $87,600 from Girardi for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and a total of $8,500 for his 2014 lieutenant governor campaign, campaign finance records show.
Girardi is also the estranged husband of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Girardi.
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Are Democrats going to return the money he gave them?
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