| NEW YORK, July 15
NEW YORK, July 15 A former partner at the Mayer
Brown law firm whose clients included Refco Inc was sentenced on
Monday to one year and one day in federal prison for his role in
a multibillion-dollar fraud at the now defunct commodities
Joseph Collins also must spend two years under supervised
release following his prison term under the sentence imposed by
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Loretta Preska.
Collins was found guilty in November on seven counts in
helping the owners and executives of Refco conceal a $2.4
billion fraud that caused the firm's demise in 2005. It was the
second trial for Collins, who was found guilty on charges
including conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud.
In January 2012, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
tossed the 2009 conviction of Collins, who at that time was
sentenced to seven years in prison. The appeals court found that
the judge at the first trial should have called defense lawyers
in before advising a recalcitrant juror to continue
The court remanded the case for a new trial, which began in
At Monday's sentencing, Collins' attorney William Schwartz
portrayed his client as a family man and a community volunteer
In her ruling, Preska said she took Collins's track record
of community service into account. She said his case deviated
from a standard fraud trial because Collins did not directly
financially benefit from the scheme perpetrated by Refco
executives to hide the company's financial woes and that he
served in a "secondary role" as an advisor.
The Refco fraud, which was revealed soon after the company's
August 2005 initial public offering, led to the prosecution of
several executives. Former chief executive Phillip Bennett is
serving a 16-year prison sentence and former president Tone
Grant is serving 10 years.
Santo Maggio, the former chief of Refco who pleaded guilty
to the fraud, died last year.
Schwartz said on Monday that he intends to appeal Preska's
ruling and hopes that his client may be allowed bail.
The sentencing marks a rare instance in which a corporate
lawyer has been found guilty and sentenced for legal work done
in connection with a client's fraud.
In November, California attorney and former Nixon Peabody
partner David Tamman was found guilty of helping a onetime
client and former investment fund manager cover up a Ponzi
scheme that swindled investors out of more than $20 million. He
has still to be sentenced.