Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Florida Forensic Accountant Surrenders To Authorities Pending $2.5 Million Embezzlement Charge
Lewis "Lew" B. Freeman, 60, of Coconut Grove, Florida, surrendered to federal authorities today pending charges he embezzled more than $2.5 million from client trust accounts he managed. Freeman is a longtime and well known attorney and accountant who, through his firm, Lewis B. Freeman & Partners, specialized in serving as a court-appointed receiver working to recover assets in fraud and bankruptcy cases. Prosecutors allege that Freeman wrote 162 unauthorized checks to himself from five client accounts totaling about $6 million, but put about half of the money back. He also is accused of filing false statements with the courts to cover up his thefts. Two other employees are expected to be charged in the case. Authorities have also alleged that as many as 250 clients were bilked over a ten year period by Freeman, who often shifted funds from one trust account to another to cover the thefts, in a Ponzi-type fraud scheme. The FBI raided Freeman's office last October and he has since closed down his 30-man firm. Ironically, Freeman was quoted frequently in the press following the Bernard L. Madoff scandal that broke in December 2008.
Not good when the supposed good guy turns bad...
Update (3/10/10): Freeman pleaded guilty today to mail fraud conspiracy. He faces up to 20 years in prison upon sentencing which is scheduled for May 19th.
Update (7/23/10): Freeman was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.