Within weeks of the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 off the coast of Indonesia, Tom Girardi’s men arrived in Jakarta knocking on the doors of the victims’ families.
Mr. Girardi is one of the best attorneys in America, they told the newly widowed and orphaned in 2018. Sign up with him and you could get millions from the plane manufacturer Boeing. They handed out glossy booklets touting Girardi’s quarter-century of taking on airlines and plane manufacturers and the billions he had won for his clients.
It was a persuasive pitch, but for five grief-stricken families, it turned out to be a lie. Girardi did wrest enormous settlements from Boeing in the name of their loved ones, but once wired to his firm’s bank accounts, at least $3 million due to the victims’ relatives went to Girardi’s own purposes.
“This is rightfully ours, not Girardi’s,” said Septiana Damayanti, whose husband died in the crash, leaving her to raise their two daughters, ages 5 and 3. “I’m exhausted. I thought I could use the settlement money for the children. At least they could’ve gotten a good education, that they’d not need to worry.”
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