Former Virginia Lawyer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Stealing Client Funds and Several Other Fraud Schemes
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Michael Eisner, 32, of Mastic, New York, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conducting a variety of fraud schemes, including stealing cash from his clients and fraudulently abusing credit cards in the name of his mother and wife. Eisner also was ordered to pay over $1.1 million in restitution to his victims, and he was remanded immediately into the U.S. Marshal’s custody after today’s hearing to begin serving his sentence.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
Eisner pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiray to commit wire fraud on July 15, 2014. According to court documents, prior to losing his law license in 2013, Eisner was a member of the Virginia Bar. He owned and operated the Northern Virginia Law Group, a law practice located in McLean, Virginia. In 2011 and 2012, Eisner committed a variety of fraud schemes, including stealing more than $250,000 in funds from his law clients. These clients had entrusted this money to him during the course of bankruptcy proceedings, and they were under the false impression that Eisner was keeping this money in escrow to pay for bankruptcy-related expenses. In reality, Eisner was using their money for his own personal benefit and enjoyment.
Eisner also defrauded several financial institutions during various credit card and check fraud schemes. For instance, Eisner conducted a “credit card kiting” scheme, where he illegally abused a Citibank credit card account that was in his wife’s name. Eisner submitted fraudulent electronic payments to Citibank to reduce the balance on his cards in order to transact new charges exceeding his wife’s credit limit before his phony payments to Citibank were dishonored. Before Citibank caught on, Eisner amassed a balance that exceeded 300 percent of his wife’s credit limit. Eisner’s wife was not aware that he was using her credit card in this manner, and she did not authorize him to do so. In addition to using his wife’s credit card, Eisner also illegally used credit cards in his mother’s name during the course of this scheme without her knowledge or permission.
Eisner also conspired with Mark Head, who was sentenced to four years in prison on August 14, 2014, to conduct several other fraud schemes. In one such scheme, Head opened an account in his friend’s name without his knowledge or permission. Eisner and Head then used that account to issue several large checks to Eisner’s law firm. In reality, the account never had more than $20 in it. Eisner nonetheless deposited the checks written to his company at various Bank of America branches, and he immediately withdrew funds prior to Bank of America learning that the checks Head caused to be issued to Eisner were fraudulent. In total, Eisner and Head’s criminal conduct during this scheme caused actual losses to Bank of America of nearly $350,000.
Eisner, either working alone or with Head, conducted many other schemes that are described in court documents. As a result of his actions, Eisner caused more than $1.1 million in actual losses to his victims. If he had been as successful as he intended and certain victims had not uncovered his fraud, Eisner would have stolen more than $3.6 million from clients, banks and other victims.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Golder prosecuted 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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-167.