Ex-Bakers partner faces jail over money laundering

A former Baker & McKenzie partner is facing up to 15 years in jail after pleading guilty in New York to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Corporate lawyer Martin Weisberg had been indicted on two charges. The first centred on a $55m share fraud scheme involving the companies Xybernaut and Ramp. At the time of the fraud Weisberg was working at Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin, a firm that disbanded in 2007 following a series of malpractice suits.

In 2005 Weisberg joined Bakers in New York from Troutman Sanders, one of the firms that took a group of Jenkens & Gilchrist lawyers as the firm unravelled.

In 2008 Weisberg was indicted on a second charge of stealing $1.3m from the $1.6m in interest that had been siphoned off an escrow account into which he had placed $30m of client monies.

Weisberg had told the clients – SIAM Capital Management, Regenmacher Holdings and JMV Fixed Income Arbitrage Performance Partners – that the account would not bear interest.

“I deeply regret this action on my part,” Weisberg said in court this week. “My actions were wrong and in violation of the law and again I deeply regret my actions.”

According to the New York Law Journal Weisberg had previously been acquitted of participating in another investment conspiracy, a Ponzi scheme, back in 1991. At the time he had been a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

Weisberg is due to be sentenced on 14 September. In court the former Bakers lawyer confirmed that if his sentence, which prosecutors have estimated should be between 78 and 97 months, is less than 97 months he will not appeal.

Lawyers from Baker & Hostetler and Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello & Bohrer represented Weisberg.

Baker & McKenzie did not comment.