The New York Law Journal by Mark Hamblett - July 8, 2009
The lines have been drawn for Monday’s sentencing of attorney Marc Dreier for defrauding hedge funds and other victims of more than $400 million through a series of schemes over a seven-year period. Defense attorney Gerald L. Shargel, in papers filed yesterday, makes a direct appeal to Southern District Judge Jed S. Rakoff for a sentence that is "both rational and proportionate"—a non-guidelines sentence somewhere between 10 years and 1 month and 12 years and 7 months in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Streeter has another number in mind in his own sentencing memorandum—145 years in prison, or, in the alternative, "a term of years that would both assure that Dreier will remain in prison for life and emphatically promote general deterrence." Mr. Streeter puts the total amount of Mr. Dreier’s frauds at $740 million, the amount of money that cycled through Mr. Dreier’s own accounts or was stripped from attorney escrow funds over which he had total control at his now-defunct firm, Dreier LLP. "With all of the advantages conferred by a comfortable upbringing, Harvard and Yale educations, and a solid start in the legal profession, Dreier could have pursued a rewarding and productive life as a lawyer, serving clients and the law, with compensation in the top few percent of the general population," Mr. Streeter writes. "Instead, Dreier decided to seek vast personal riches and prestige through a life of fraud and through dishonor to his profession."
Mr. Shargel said Mr. Dreier’s punishment "has already begun" because he has been public disgrace and vilification, the loss of his law firm and all of his possessions and "the shame and suffering that his actions have brought upon his family." "As colossal frauds capture national headlines, sentences for white-collar offenders must not be disproportionately long," Mr. Shargel writes. "In many ways, the goals of sentencing embodied in 18 U.S.C.§3553(a) have suffered collateral damage in the war on white collar crime." Mr. Dreier will be sentenced just two weeks after Bernard L. Madoff received 150 years in prison for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, which defrauded investors of more than $13 billion. Mr. Dreier, 59, pleaded guilty May 11 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of money laundering, one count of securities fraud and five counts of wire fraud. (NYLJ, May 12). He has remained under house arrest his Manhattan apartment since Judge Rakoff accepted his plea and said Mr. Dreier "has disgraced the honorable profession of law." His sentencing hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday.