Prosecutors Want $19 Million From Lawyer Who Stole From Firm

Nathan E. Hardwick IV should be forced to forfeit $19.9 million after treating his law firm as a “personal piggy bank,” according to a motion filed by prosecutors as Hardwick awaits sentencing.

Hardwick was convicted last October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution and is facing up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced later this month. He was accused of embezzling $26 million from the firm, which he used to fund a lavish lifestyle that included parties on private islands and taking friends to golf tournaments in Europe on private jets, according to prosectors.

So far, Hardwick has returned $1.4 million of the embezzled funds, according to prosecutors.

In a filing, prosecutors said the amount they are seeing to recover is “conservative,” because one company spent nearly $30 million to cover the shortages in the firm’s trust accounts.

The firm — Morris Hardwick Schneider — specialized in handling mortgage foreclosures and debt collection cases. An accountant at the firm earlier pleaded guilty to stealing more than $900,000 from the firm and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for helping Hardwick siphon money from the firm’s accounts.

The firm, which is now bankrupt, at one point employed more than 800 lawyers in 16 states.

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