12:43, October 15 64 0 abajournal.com

2018-10-15 12:43:06
Suspended lawyer is convicted of embezzling $26M from his now-bankrupt law firm

A suspended Atlanta lawyer was convicted Friday for embezzling $26 million from the law firm where he once served as managing partner.

Nathan Hardwick IV was convicted on 21 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of making false statements to banks, report the Daily Report and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hardwick, 53, was accused of taking most of the money from IOLTA accounts at Morris Hardwick Schneider. The now-bankrupt real-estate closing firm once employed more than 800 people in 16 states. Hardwick had owned 55.55 percent of the law firm.

Hardwick used the embezzled money to pay for gambling, private jets and other expenses. The Supreme Court of Georgia suspended Hardwick’s law license in 2016, the Journal-Constitution reports.

Fidelity National Title covered $30 million in shortfalls.

Hardwick allegedly took the money with the help of the firm’s chief financial officer, Asha Maurya, who was accused of stealing $900,000 from the firm. She cooperated with the government after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but did not testify at the trial.

Hardwick had testified that he thought the money Maurya wired to him was coming from the firm’s operating accounts rather than its escrow accounts.

In opening statements, a prosecutor had called Hardwick “a thief and a liar.”