Ex-WA lawyer admits he swindled clients - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ex-WA lawyer admits he swindled clients

Associated Press - May 31, 2008 2:35 PM ET

SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) - A 62-year-old former Everett lawyer has pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

As part of a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Barry Hammer admitted engaging in a scheme to defraud clients of up to $1 million.

He was accused of convincing dozens of clients to invest hunreds of thousands of dollars into what he promised were tax shelters and retirement funds bankrolled by property investments.

In 2005, Hammer gave up his law license in lieu of disbarment, acknowleding evidence showed he'd entered business dealings with multiple clients and made misrepresentations about the risks.

Federal prosecutors charged Hammer with seven federal crimes: five counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Parents says under the plea reached on Thursday, the remaining six counts will be dismissed if Hammer sticks to the agreement at sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 5.

Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

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