Willkie Farr partner suspended for fraudulent billing

A former US tax partner at New York firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher has been suspended from practice for one year after being caught billing clients $30,000 worth of personal phone calls.

Patrick Carmody, who joined Willkie Farr in 1990 and became a partner in 1998, resigned from the firm in April 2003 after his misconduct was discovered by another partner.

The Appellate Division, First Department, enforced the one-year suspension on Carmody last Thursday (27 July) following recommendations from a four-lawyer hearing panel and referee Donald Zolin who heard the case.

Carmody admitted to having made about 129 hours of personal long distance telephone calls to Ireland and the UK over two years and billing the calls to several clients. He attributed his actions to stress resulting from personal matters.

The clients billed for the calls included Swiss Re Capital, Credit Suisse and WR Berkley Corp. All were reimbursed.

Zolin, who had recommended only a six-month suspension, determined that Carmody’s actions were not driven by financial gain but to mask the amount of time spent on personal matters.