Tom Girardi, a disbarred Los Angeles attorney and estranged husband of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne, is accused of embezzling more than $18 million from multiple clients resulting in catastrophic injury or death were exposed by relatives. This was announced by the federal prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.
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Girardi, 83, of Pasadena, California, was indicted by federal grand juries in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to the US Department of Justice.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Girardi has been charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of criminal contempt of court for alleged diversion of more than $3 million in settlement funds from a Lion Air crash who crashed in the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018 to fund his California law firm.
In addition to Girardi, his son-in-law David Lira, 62, of Pasadena, was also charged in Illinois; and Christopher Kamon, 49, of Palo Verdes, Calif., chief financial officer of Girardi’s law firm, Girardi Keese.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Girardi is charged with wire fraud for allegedly embezzling more than $15 million from customers, the Los Angeles Times reported. Prosecutors said Girardi used the money to cover his company’s payroll and personal expenses, including large credit card bills and dues for two country clubs, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to the California press release, Girardi has been charged with five counts of wire fraud.
Kamon was also charged in California with collaborating with Girardi to defraud victims from 2010 until the company’s closure in late 2020, the Times reported.
Prosecutors said the plans involved stealing money from a Los Angeles couple whose son was paralyzed in a car accident in July 2019, the press release said.
Girardi was known for high-profile litigation, like the case that led to a $333 million settlement portrayed in the film “Erin Brockovich,” The Associated Press reported.
“Mr. Girardi has been widely hailed for being an advocate for those who fight corporations, but our investigation has found that Mr. Girardi did indeed rob and steal from these people,” said Martin Estrada, the US Attorney in Los Angeles , in a statement Wednesday According to the Times, Estrada said the charges point to “corruption by one of the country’s most high-profile plaintiffs’ attorneys.”
“He claimed to be fighting for those less fortunate, but our investigation has revealed that Mr Girardi and Mr Kamon committed large-scale fraud behind this public figure,” Estrada told reporters.
According to KABC-TV, Girardi was revoked in July 2022 in California. He has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has been placed under a conservatorship.
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