SEC deal could end ex-Dewey & LeBoeuf CFO’s long-running legal trouble


Joel Sanders, former CFO for law firm Dewey and Leboeuf, exits the courtroom at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Dewey & LeBoeuf went bankrupt in May 2012
  • Ex-Dewey CFO Joel Sanders was convicted of defrauding the firm’s investors in 2017

(Reuters) – The US Securities and Exchange Commission said it is poised to settle an eight-year-old civil case against the former chief financial officer of defunct international law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, marking a possible end to the legal fallout of the firm’s collapse for its ex-leaders.

in a Friday letter to US District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan, the SEC said it is considering a settlement proposal from Joel Sanders, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding the firm’s investors. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The settlement would resolve the SEC’s monetary relief claim against Sanders, its only claim left. SEC senior counsel William Finkel said he is waiting for the commission to accept Sanders’ offer, which could take six to eight weeks.

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Michael King, an attorney representing Sanders, declined to comment on the details of the settlement offer Monday, but said he thinks the deal would resolve “the only remaining open matter involving the former leadership of Dewey.”

A spokesperson for the SEC declined to comment.

Dewey & LeBoeuf, which once had nearly 1,400 lawyers, went bankrupt in May 2012, unable to pay for the lavish compensation packages it had promised to recruit star partners.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said the firm’s executives used illegal accounting adjustments between 2008 and 2012 to conceal the firm’s financial difficulties from investors in its bonds, including Bank of America Corp and HSBC Holdings Plc.

Sanders was convicted and sentenced to a $1 million fine and 750 hours of community service in 2017.

Stephen DiCarmine, the firm‘s former executive director, was acquitted of the same charges.

Prosecutors dropped charges against former Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis after Davis agreed to a five-year ban from practicing law in New York.

The SEC filed its own civil complaint in 2014 against Sanders, DiCarmine, Davis and others in Manhattan federal court.

Davis and DiCarmine paid $130,000 and $35,000 respectively, to resolve those complaints in 2018. In each of their filings, Davis and DiCarmine said they did not admit or deny the SEC’s allegations.

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