Man Charged in Wire Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 27, 2012|
BATON ROUGE—First Assistant United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged James M. Bernhard, III, 36, of Baton Rouge, with wire fraud. Bernhard faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is larger.
The bill of information alleges that Bernhard, using his position as an attorney in a law firm in Baton Rouge, devised a scheme to defraud the law firm and fraudulently obtain client money from the law firm’s trust account using material false and fraudulent pretenses, promises, and representations. In doing so, Bernhard knowingly caused certain interstate wirings to occur. In all, the bill of information alleges that Bernhard fraudulently directed approximately $453,123 from the law firm’s trust account for his own personal use and benefit.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rich Bourgeois who serves as Deputy Criminal Chief.
A bill of information is a determination by the U.S. Attorney that probable cause exists to believe that an offense has been committed by a defendant. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.