A federal judge in Chicago has frozen the assets of prominent Los Angeles attorney Thomas Girardi, finding that he misappropriated at least $2 million in client funds that were due to the families of those killed in the crash of a Boeing jet in Indonesia.
At a contempt hearing Monday morning, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin called Girardi’s conduct “unconscionable” and said he was referring him to the U.S. attorney’s office for criminal investigation.
“No matter what your personal financial situation is, no matter what kind of pressures you are under, if you touch client money, you are going to be disbarred and quite possibly charged criminally,” said Durkin, calling it “ethics 101.”
“You learn that in law school,” the judge said, “and someone as experienced as Mr. Girardi knows that as well as anyone.”
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