An attorney who assisted in Casey Anthony’s defense during the Caylee Anthony murder trial has plead guilty to defrauding clients with false promises of monetary gain.
Todd Macaluso has been under investigation for scamming clients out of money that they were owed in an attempt to keep his law office operational. Prosecutors in his case claim that many clients were unaware they were being scammed. In addition to pleading guilty to scamming his clients, Macaluso also claims that he falsified signatures on documents and notary stamps in an attempt to convince investors to provide millions of dollars in investments.
According to the FBI website, Macaluso defrauded clients that he represented as a personal injury lawyer. After an extensive investigation, Macaluso pled guilty charges of defrauding his clients by providing their information on funding agreements, including signatures that were accompanied by a notary stamp. He claimed that many of his clients were unaware that their identities were included in his scheme.
Todd Macaluso is best known for his defense, alongside Jose Baez, in the infamous Casey Anthony defense trial. He also represented Shawne Merriman, linebacker for the Sand Diego Chargers, after he was accused of choking reality television star Tila Tequila, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Records from the U.S. Attorney’s Office claim that Macaluso could face up to 20 years in prison for his crime of wire fraud, along with a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, restitution to his clients, forfeiture, and a $100 special assessment.
Attorney Laura E. Duffy commented on the case, warning other attorneys that they are there to help their clients, not victimize them.
“Individuals who have suffered a personal injury should not have to worry about being victimized by their own advocate. The defendant’s conviction should be a stark reminder that attorneys and other fiduciaries will be prosecuted if they fraudulently misuse the privileges society has given them.”
Special Agent Eric S. Birnbaum of the FBI ensured the population that the FBI takes claims of fraud committed by attorneys seriously and will investigate to the fullest extent.
“Mr. Macaluso betrayed his clients’ trust by putting his clients’ personal injury recoveries on the hook without their knowledge or consent. The FBI is committed to maintaining the integrity of our justice system by aggressively investigating those individuals that violate their fiduciary responsibilities through fraudulent schemes that victimize the American public.”
Individuals who watched the case were excited to see justice unfold. Macaluso is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2015. If he receives the maximum charges, he will serve more time behind bars than Casey Anthony.
[Photo Courtesy: Orlando Sentinel]