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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marc Dreier Law License Suspended

Matter of Dreier
2008 NY Slip Op 10062
Decided on December 23, 2008
Appellate Division, First Department
Per Curiam
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports

Decided on December 23, 2008
First Judicial Department
Peter Tom,Justice Presiding,
Luis A. Gonzalez
John T. Buckley
John W. Sweeny, Jr.
James M. Catterson, Justices.

[*1]In the Matter of Marc S. Dreier (admitted as Marc Stuart Dreier), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Marc S. Dreier, Respondent.

Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Marc S. Dreier, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department on May 5, 1976.

Alan W. Friedberg, Chief Counsel, Departmental
Disciplinary Committee, New York
(Vitaly Lipkansky, of counsel), for petitioner.
Gerald L. Shargel, for respondent.
M-5942 - December 19, 2007


Respondent Marc S. Dreier was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on May 5, 1976, under the name Marc Stuart Dreier. At all times relevant to this motion, respondent has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.

The Departmental Disciplinary Committee (Committee) seeks an order, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(iii), immediately suspending respondent from the practice of law on the basis of uncontroverted evidence of serious professional misconduct.

Respondent was the founder, and sole-equity partner of Dreier LLP, a 250-attorney national law firm. According to the Committee, he was also the sole authorized signatory on the Dreier LLP escrow accounts; only he was authorized to direct the movement of funds in and out of these accounts.

The uncontested evidence presented by the Committee to satisfy 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(iii) includes: (1) a detailed civil complaint and an application for preliminary injunctive relief filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleging that respondent defrauded multiple investors by marketing and selling fictitious promissory notes to hedge funds and other investment funds, making a profit of at least $100 million at the expense of unwitting investors; (2) a sealed criminal complaint by the United States Attorney's Office; (3) sworn declarations from a number of attorneys at, and affiliated with, Dreier LLP attesting to the fact that the firm's escrow accounts, to which respondent was the sole signatory, had repeated shortfalls amounting to tens of millions of dollars; and (4) alleged admissions by respondent to third parties, as to, inter alia, at least two purported attempts to have funds from the Dreier LLP escrow accounts transferred to one of respondent's personal accounts.

Respondent was arrested in Canada on December 2, 2008 for criminal impersonation. He was released on bail in Canada. He then returned to New York, and was arrested on the federal criminal complaint. A December 11, 2008 application for bail in New York was denied. The federal court appointed a temporary receiver for all of respondent's assets and for the firm's escrow accounts. Dreier LLP has also filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Respondent has declined to oppose this motion, because of the ongoing federal criminal case. His attorney states that respondent "will at this time, assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination". Thus, no facts are presented to controvert the Committee's submissions (see Matter of Boter, 46 AD3d 1,7 [2007]; Matter of Berman, 45 AD3d 219, 222 [2007]; Matter of Muraskin, 286 AD2d 186 [2001]; Matter of Rodwin, 253 AD2d 67, 68-69 [1999]).

In view of the foregoing, we find that the Committee has met its burden on the motion (see 22 NYCRR 603.4[e][1][iii]). The evidence gathered by the SEC and the United States Attorney's Office, and the sworn declarations annexed to the Committee's motion, none of which are controverted, relate that respondent was engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell investors fictitious promissory notes, for a profit of over $100 million; and converted tens of millions of dollars from the Dreier LLP escrow accounts.

This Court has consistently held that an attorney who converts funds should be immediately suspended, prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary proceeding (Matter of Berman, 45 AD3d 219 [2007]; Matter of Newman, 35 AD3d 23 [2006]; Matter of Wallman, 260 AD2d 148 [1999]). The sheer magnitude of the alleged conversion in this case, and the fact that some of the acts in furtherance thereof allegedly took place while respondent was in a Canadian prison are cause for great public concern. [*3]

Accordingly, the Committee's motion should be granted and respondent should be immediately suspended pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(iii).
All concur.
Order filed. [December 23, 2008]
Tom, J.P., Gonzalez, Buckley, Jr., and Catterson, JJ.

Respondent suspended from the practice of law in the State of New York, effective the date hereof, until such time as disciplinary matters pending before the Committee have been concluded and until further order of this Court. Opinion Per Curiam. All concur.


Anonymous said...

Now who said the Committee doesn't do its job? Here you go. LOL, not even they could 86 this one. They call that one a no-brainer. It is a feeble attempt to make it look like they actually are doing their job.

Anonymous said...

Show trial. Convict the undeniable and let the other guilty rats escape. What about the partners who are responsible for inaction or complicity? What about all the other corruption cases presented to the Committee? Without virtue; without decency; without honor; NY lawyers and judges; CJC and and attorney discipline.

Anonymous said...

Oh Please, there were so many Attorney Grievance complaints filed, and CJC complaints filed that were "WHITE-WASHED" for the "Politically" connected lawyers...They pay their dues and magically the complaints disappear or they keep them lingering on for years without suspension, censure, or disbarment, even though the complainants have incontrovertible evidence against these lawyers and Judges, they still seem to disappear without any reason...These Agencies need Federal Monitoring and or have the public people decide their fate.

Anonymous said...

he will get 6 months in a min security prison only because his ealings with Canada. Then when hhe gets out he will re-apply for his Lic. and they will gladly give it back as long as he pays his 3,000 a year in hush money to the Barr.

Anonymous said...

hey, victim of CJC and attorney grievance - lets start up an organization of fellow people that got screwed by them.

I have now had a case before the Grievance Committee on a case that was originally in the 10th, but had been transferred to the 9th. That was supposed to be a good thing. That case has been there for more than 18 months without resolution. It is pretty clear cut - did the two attorneys do wrong or didnt they.

As you know all submissions made to the grievance committee are made in writing. all responses by them to you are in writing. For all you know your letters could be going to the Wizard of OZ.

The original charge was made against what could be called a 'connected' lawyer that represented two different clients at different times, and had the second one give testimony against the first client. The first client was not indicted, but mentioned as an unindicted co-defendant for the purpose of indicting another person. The lawyer does not dispute he worked for client number one. He said he got 5K, not as an attorney, but acting as a 'research assistant' for another attorney. He said he imparted no confidential information to his second client. The threshold for immproper conduct is that one ONLY has to have the ability to impart information -

While presenting that charge to the grievance committee, they appeared to have opened up a case against the assistant DA. The ADA admits to the jury, and then to the grievance committee that the ADA knew when he heard the false testimony given by his witness he never bothered to inform the court or the defense. He then goes on to make a case to the GC to support the idea HE KNEW. Incredible. You just can't do that.

Truth is the matter should be appealed as to the criminal conviction. But the system is so screwed up that one takes the time because they can't afford to appeal and appeal.

Bottom LINE: they are all corrupt. There is NOT a one of them in any phase of the government that will shout out: " I can't take it anymore!!!"

Anonymous said...

I was disbarred because I went after someone who was protected, so it was political payback. Marc Dreier certainly needed to be disbarred years ago. Who protected him? How much did he pay? I have found that that's what the law business is all about.

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