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all the details in tom girardi's indictment
he got arrested in two states today and faces decades in prison
In June 2020, months before embezzlement allegations first surfaced, Tom Girardi sent a letter to a client who was seeking money from a defective medical device settlement.
“We are trying desperately to get everything figured out. Since there is a Bankruptcy Trustee, we have to get an understanding of how much goes to the Trustee and how much goes to you…I am not getting much of a response from the trustee.”
But four months earlier a court had already dispersed the client’s settlement funds without Girardi telling the client, and that money was used by Girardi’s firm Girardi Keese to lease fancy cars, according to federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors in LA and Chicago indicted Tom Girardi today on 13 counts of wire fraud, saying he stole $18 million from former clients in order to bankroll his high-rolling lifestyle. Each count carries 20 years in prison. Also indicted is former Girardi Keese Chief Financial Officer Chris Kamon and Girardi’s son-in-law David Lira.
The time frame of the alleged theft occurred over a 10-year period between 2010 and December 2020, portraying a griftopia at the tail end of one of the biggest plaintiff firms in the country. After hearing months of rumors that Girardi was broke, his reality t.v. wife Erika Jayne divorced him in November 2020. The next month, a federal judge in Chicago referred Girardi’s Boeing Jet crash case for criminal prosecution. A legal reckoning began.
But the government’s indictment encompasses a number of victims, including a case Girardi settled for $53 million without even telling his client, according to prosecutors. Instead, Girardi told the client the settlement was only for $7.2 million.
“Time and time again this pattern repeated,” said new U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada during a press conference this morning. “Girardi was widely celebrated for being a champion for fighting against corporations, but our investigation has found Girardi was robbing and stealing from people he claimed to be championing.”
In another case, Girardi withheld money from a lawsuit he brought over the death of a spouse. Prosecutors said the money was owed to the widow, whom Girardi led on and ultimately ghosted during the summer of 2020.
Girardi is 83 years old and apparently on Alzheimer's, but Estrada said he was competent during the alleged conduct.
“We believe the evidence shows he was competent,” said Estrada.
Here are some of the other things prosecutors allege in the indictment:
Girardi was slow-dripping settlement funds to Boeing Jet crash clients for months. He wrote to one client who begged for money: "I think you are going to love me in 30 days." That quote is classic Tom.
In April 2020, Girardi directed a $40,000 wire transfer a client who requested money from the Boeing settlement, but Girardi Keese had already acquired all of the settlement money and didn’t inform the client.
Girardi emailed the Boeing victim saying, “We made an agreement with Boeing that all of the cases would be resolved. They gave us special authorization to distribute 50%.” But that was a lie.
Girardi emailed another victim who was owed money, writing, “I got enough of the problem taken care of so we were able to release 50% of the settlement.” That was also false.
Girardi eventually paid out some money to Boeing victims, but ultimately stole $3 million from them.
Girardi Keese secured over $17 million for the family of an automobile accident in 2019, but withheld millions by lying to the family and saying there were medical expenses and court orders to be made.
An excuse Girardi would give to clients seeking their money was saying he was resolving tax issues related to the settlement, even though no taxes were owed on the settlement funds.
So there you go. Nothing really surprising. Girardi’s initial court appearance is Feb. 6. Maybe then we’ll get to see him go to jail. Also: I’ve only done a cursory search, but it looks like the statute of limitations on federal wire fraud charges is 10 years, which checks out with the beginning of the alleged conduct. Keep in mind the State Bar of California received over 150 complaints about Girardi dating back to the 1980s. It’s definitely not over. Also also: how many recusals are we gonna see if Girardi owned all of the LA judiciary?
I’ll leave you with my old story about hanging out with Girardi, Dating Tom. Bye for now.