There's nothing we hate more than when drug traffickers — the small-business owners who make up the backbone of this country — are taken advantage of, which is why we're glad to see that a local criminal defense attorney has been convicted of ripping off clients he poached from other attorneys.
Abraham Moses Fisch, 56, was convicted in a Houston federal court Wednesday of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and failure to file tax returns, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Fisch told defendants in four federal cases that, for a hefty price, he could tap his government contacts and guarantee to get their cases dismissed. His contacts allegedly included folks in the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice and Medicare.
"Drug trafficker Edilberto Portillo and his wife, Elida Sanchez, paid $1.1 million to Fisch in order to obtain dismissal of their charges," according to the release. Fisch paid a large portion of that to his partner in the scheme, former used car financier [insert joke here] Lloyd Glen Williams, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice and to filing a false tax return.
Another victim of Fisch and Williams was Umawa Oke Imo, who was charged in a health care fraud scheme; he testified that the duplicitous duo "quoted him a fee of $3 million in order to obtain a dismissal. In reality, however, no officials were paid, no cases were dismissed, and Fisch and Williams simply split the fees between them," according to the release.
The release also states, "The scam also interfered with defendants’ relationships with former and subsequent counsel, including communicating with represented defendants unbeknownst to their legitimate counsel, causing them to fire counsel, not to communicate fully and truthfully with their attorneys and not to assist their attorneys in preparing their defense or in negotiating guilty pleas."
Fisch is set to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal on September 29. He faces up to five years for conspiracy, and up to 121 years on the multiple counts of the remaining charges. He was allowed to remain out on bond until then.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Criminal Investigation division of the IRS. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Johnson and John P. Pearson.