Wife of convicted Big Law partner loses US sanctions offer


A flag flies from the Department of Justice in Washington, United States on March 24, 2019. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

  • Eleanor Daugerdas argued the government should have submitted unredacted documents
  • Paul Daugerdas was convicted in a major criminal tax fraud case

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September 29 (Reuters) – A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday blocked the sanction request by the wife of a former Big Law partner who was convicted for her role in one of the biggest criminal tax fraud cases of the history of the United States.

Eleanor Daugerdas, the wife of Paul Daugerdas, sought to sanction the federal government after prosecutors turned over redacted and unredacted banking documents from the Chicago law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, which her husband once headed.

These documents, which the federal government obtained in 2007 from Davis Polk & Wardwell as part of a separate investigation into the accounting firm Ernst & Young, were already redacted by the time the government obtained them, the district judge wrote. American Denise Cote in a 10- page order.

Eleanor Daugerdas had argued that the federal government violated its duty to preserve evidence by never obtaining unredacted versions of documents.

Côté was not convinced. “The grand jury’s possession of the subpoena power does not mean that any conceivable document that is the subject of a subpoena is deemed to be in the possession of or under the control of the government,” the judge wrote.

Daugerdas was convicted of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud charges by a New York federal jury in 2013. He was convicted of overseeing fraudulent tax shelters for about two decades, primarily at Jenkens’ home. & Gilchrist, now defunct, which cost the US government more. over $ 1.63 billion in tax revenues.

Two other people were also convicted in connection with the scheme – Jenkens’ former partner Donna Guerin and David Parse, a Deutsche Bank broker. The jury acquitted another former Deutsche broker, Raymond Brubaker, and Denis Field, former managing director of accounting firm BDO Seidman.

Dallas-based Jenkens & Gilchrist was among the nation’s most profitable law firms with more than 600 attorneys before shutting down permanently in 2007, the same year it struck a deal with the Internal Revenue Service. . related to his advice on tax shelters.

In June 2014, U.S. District Judge William Pauley gave the federal government the green light to confiscate more than $ 160 million in Paul Daugerdas’ assets. Two months later, Eleanor Daugerdas filed a petition to recover $ 10 million of those assets, arguing that she had right, title and interest to the money.

Although Pauley and the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his petition, the 2nd Circuit allowed him to do more investigations. Pauley ordered the federal government in July 2018 to produce the bank documents, which only happened in December 2020, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with the files redacted, Eleanor Daugerdas claimed in April that they were sufficient to support her petition.

Côté, whose court ruling was released on Wednesday, was assigned to the case after Pauley’s death in July.

Paul Daugerdas is due for release from an Illinois federal prison in 2027.

The case is United States of America v. Paul M. Daugerdas, et al., US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1: 09-cr-00581.

For Eleanor Daugerdas: James DeVita, of the law firm of James R. DeVita PLLC

For the United States: Kiersten Fletcher, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

Read more:

Former Big Law partner can’t blame trial lawyer for tax evasion conviction – judge

UPDATE 1-Guilty lawyer, CEO of accounting firm cleared in tax shelter case

David thomas

David Thomas reports on legal affairs including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @ DaveThomas5150.


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