A New York in-house lawyer has been charged, along with four other men, with bank fraud and income tax evasion as part of a scam to avoid paying monies owed to Chemical Bank and other lenders
Sanford Freedman was general counsel for companies that owned, managed and operated Days Inn Hotels. Prosecuting attorney James Comey has accused Freedman, accountant James Cutler and financial officer Howard Zukerman of assisting Monty Hundley and Stanley Tollman in defrauding the lenders of $42m (£29m). According to the charges, Hundley and Tollman, who once owned more than 50 Days Inn hotels, deliberately portrayed themselves as broke to avoid repaying debts. Freedman was allegedly complicit as Hundley and Tollman undertook a series of steps to give the impression that they were facing penury. Comey said that they submitted false financial statements, transferred assets to family members and failed to disclose $100m (£69m) worth of stock generated by the sale of Days Inn of America. In addition to the fraud allegations, Freedman has been charged with perjury and making false statements to government agents. The prosecution claims that he helped Hundley and Tollman disguise their alleged manipulation of information to avoid paying millions in taxes. All charges have been denied by Freedman's defence counsel, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson litigation partner Audrey Strauss.