Former Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins was convicted on Nov. 16 of helping top executives at Refco conceal a $2.4 billion fraud from investors and purchasers of the financial services firm.
In the fifth day of deliberations, a jury in Southern District Judge Loretta Preska's courtroom emerged to find the veteran lawyer guilty of conspiracy, two counts of securities fraud, two counts of false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and two counts of wire fraud.
Collins, of Winnetka, Ill., was acquitted of two counts of wire fraud and a single count of bank fraud.
It was a crushing disappointment for Collins, 62, who had been found guilty three years ago in a verdict that was vacated in January by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Collins showed little emotion when the jury returned its decision. Collins legal team was led by William Schwartz and Jonathan Bach of Cooley.
"We are disappointed in the jury's verdict and intend to appeal it," Schwartz said.
The prosecution team consisted of Southern District Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry Chernoff, Michael Levy and Edward Imperatore.
Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that Collins used his law license to help orchestrate an accounting fraud "that left a major commodities firm in tatters."
"Over and over and over again, Collins ignored his duties as an officer of the court by actively participating in the crimes of his clienttelling blatant lies, falsifying important documents, and concealing others," Bharara said. "In addition to the staggering losses and financial disarray caused by his actions, Collins gave the legal profession a black eye, something that is intolerable to this office and to the vast majority of attorneys who serve their clients and the courts ethically and honorably every day."
Collins faces a top prison term of 20 years on each of the fraud counts when he is sentenced by Preska on March 20. He received seven years in 2010 following his 2009 convictions that were later vacated.