A high-profile former lawyer and top Democrat donor who hosted a fundraiser for President Joe Biden is facing prison after being indicted by federal grand juries for allegedly embezzling over $18 million from suffering clients.
Tom Girardi, 83, was charged in Los Angeles with five counts of wire fraud and faces a maximum 20-year federal prison sentence, The Justice Department announced.
The charges were part of an indictment that accused Girardi of embezzling more than $15 million from clients and using funds to cover his law firm’s payroll and personal expenses.
The case also included charges against Christopher Kamon, the former chief financial officer of Girardi’s LA-based law firm, Girardi Keese, indicating they “devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud victim clients” until the firm collapsed in 2020.
Girardi, his son-in-law David Lira, and Kamon were charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of contempt of court.
The trio stole more than $3 million in settlement funds meant for family members of those who died in a Boeing plane crash off the coast of Indonesia, prosecutors alleged.
The indictments come amid the spectacular downfall of top Democrat donor Girardi, who was once LA’s top attorney, but now faces 20 years in prison.
Girardi cultivated close ties by donating to powerful Democratic politicians, mayors, governors, members of Congress, presidents, and presidential candidates.
As Fox News reported:
Girardi, his relatives, and employees gave at least $7.5 million in political contributions to candidates and political committees, from city council races to presidential campaigns, according to a 2020 analysis by the Los Angeles Times. Most of that money went to Democrats, including Biden, for whom Girardi hosted a ritzy LA fundraiser during the 2020 presidential cycle.
In addition to Biden, Girardi has given tens of thousands of dollars each to the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and a host of other elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom received $87,600 from Girardi for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and $8,500 for his 2014 lieutenant governor campaign, campaign finance records show.
Over the last decade, Girardi and his estranged wife, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” reality TV star Erika Jayne, gave more than $2 million to the national Democratic Party and individual candidates, according to election filings. And that was despite Girardi reportedly defaulting on high-interest loans and being forced to liquidate his stock portfolio.
Girardi’s wealth as a high-powered attorney allowed him easy and intimate access to Democrats.
But Girardi’s lavish lifestyle steadily came crashing as legal issues worsened, culminating with the recent indictments.
The former attorney is also in the process of divorce from Jayne, who filed for divorce after 21 years of marriage.
Girardi, 83, was disbarred last year, his firm Girardi Keese filed for bankruptcy, and he’s said to be suffering from dementia and is under a court conservatorship, Entertainment Weekly reported.