Former Virginia-Based Attorney Convicted in Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud Schemes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 15, 2014|
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Michael Eisner, 32, of Mastic, New York, entered a guilty plea today in connection with several different fraud schemes that Eisner conducted while he was a practicing attorney and licensed member of the Virginia State Bar.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
Eisner was indicted on May 15, 2014 by a federal grand jury, and he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Eisner faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison when he is sentenced on October 31, 2014.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Eisner admitted to defrauding financial institutions and his own clients of approximately $4.8 million in intended losses. When defrauding financial institutions, Eisner took advantage of the lag time between when a victim financial institution realized that one of Eisner’s checks or credit card payments was fraudulent and when Eisner could obtain real money from that victim. For example, Eisner and co-conspirator Mark Head, who pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2014, opened an account at Fidelity Cash Management in K.C.’s name, but without K.C.’s knowledge or permission. Head and Eisner then used that account to issue several large checks to Eisner’s law firm when, in reality, K.C.’s brokerage account never had more than $20 in it. Eisner deposited the checks at various Bank of America branches in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., and he quickly withdrew approximately $350,000 before Bank of America realized that the checks were fraudulent.
In another scheme, Eisner obtained automobile loans from financial institutions, which he purportedly paid off using phony checks. Before the financial institutions realized the checks were phony, they released the automobile titles to Eisner. And before the financial institutions could reclaim title, Eisner worked to sell the automobiles to CarMax so that he could keep the proceeds despite not having valid title to the car.
In addition to these schemes to defraud financial institutions, Eisner admitted to defrauding his own clients of money he was supposed to have kept in trust. For example, around October 2009, A.T. hired Eisner to represent him in a bankruptcy-related legal matter. Eisner was supposed to have kept more than $300,000 of A.T.’s money in a trust account in connection with that bankruptcy. In reality, Eisner used A.T.’s funds for his own personal benefit.
In or about January 2013, Eisner signed an affidavit consenting to the revocation of his license to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In that affidavit, Eisner acknowledged that he never deposited client funds into a trust account and, in fact, did not have a trust account during the time he conducted this scheme.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Golder is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.