NEW YORK, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Alan Lewis, the prominent
white-collar defense attorney, has taken on the defense of
Douglas Arntsen, the former Crowell & Moring lawyer who is
accused of stealing at least $7.4 million in client funds and
fleeing to Hong Kong to avoid arrest.
Lewis, 51 and a partner at Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, is
representing Arntsen, who was arraigned Friday night in Manhattan criminal court and is currently being held without
Prosecutors have charged Arntsen, 34, with fleeing the
United States in September after they accused him of embezzling
$2.5 million in client funds that had been placed in escrow for
his client, Regal Real Estate. The amount he is accused of
stealing has since risen to $7.4 million. Meanwhile, at the
arraignment, prosecutors said Arntsen is under investigation for
stealing an additional $21 million.
In Lewis, Arntsen is turning to a former colleague. Both men
worked together at the firm now known as Buchanan Ingersoll &
Rooney from 2005 to 2006, when Lewis was a partner and Arntsen
worked as an associate in the finance and distressed-debt
practice. Lewis left for Carter Ledyard in 2006, and Arntsen
stayed at Buchanan Ingersoll until he joined Crowell & Moring as
counsel in 2007.
Lewis, who works in Carter Ledyard's Wall Street offices,
has handled the defense of other high-profile clients. He
currently represents former Tyco chief executive officer Dennis
Kozlowski, who was convicted in 2005 along with another Tyco
executive of looting more than $600 million from the company.
He also represents Christopher Finazzo, former executive
vice president of apparel chain Aeropostale, who was charged in
2010 in connection with a $14 million kickback scheme; and he
represented Richard Rubin, former chief executive officer of
Donnkenny Inc, a woman's apparel manufacturer, who pleaded
guilty in 1999 conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Richard Rubin, former chief executive officer of Donnkenny Inc,
the woman's apparel manufacturer of the Pierre Cardin line.
FORMER BROOKLYN PROSECUTOR
After graduating from New York University School of Law in
1986, Lewis spent two years as an associate at Proskauer Rose,
then served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn until
1998. During his last three years as a Brooklyn prosecutor, he
was counsel to the homicide bureau.
Reached by phone Monday, Lewis declined to comment on the
Arntsen case beyond what he had said in court Friday, where he
asserted that Arntsen had not fled to Hong Kong but already had
planned a trip there. When asked how he came to represent
Arntsen, Lewis simply said that he had been hired.
Prosecutors have said they began investigating Arntsen after
a Regal Real Estate employee told them that the attorney was
unable to account for the company's escrow funds and needed to
go to Hong Kong to retrieve them. When authorities went to
arrest Arntsen on Sept. 14, he had already left the country,
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office alleges that
Arntsen orchestrated a complicated scheme involving "no less
than 24 bank accounts" and a decoy so he could escape to Hong
A graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law, Arntsen
resigned from Crowell & Moring on Sept. 12, just a day before
the Manhattan District Attorney's office told the firm that he
was under investigation.
Arntsen and Crowell & Moring face at least three civil
lawsuits pertaining to his alleged theft of escrow funds.
A spokewoman for the Crowell & Moring was not immediately
available for comment.
(Reporting by Leigh Jones)
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