find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Lawyer makes millions with fake firm

Lawyer makes millions with fake firm

A New York lawyer is accused of creating a fake Texas law firm that cost the Houston manufacturer he worked for more than $US9 million.

Anthony Chiofalo, 51, and his wife, Susan Chiofalo, face felony theft charges, according to the Houston Chronicle. Anthony is still at large, while Susan is being held on $US18 million bond.

Here’s how the lying lawyer stole $US9m from his employer...

In his position as legal affairs chief at Tadano America Corp, a hydraulic crane manufacturer, Chiofalo was in charge of contracting with outside law firms to represent the company. He also approved payments for legal services for the corporation.

The bulk of the outsourced legal work didn’t go to a known, reputable firm. Instead, Chiofalo nominated a small outfit called Maio & Cardenas. Haven’t heard of them? Folklaw isn’t surprised. The firm was a figment of Chiofalo’s imagination.

When Folklaw got wind of this case, it was hoping for an elaborate scheme rivalling The Sting or Ocean’s Eleven. Something like this: Chiofalo sets up a fake office complete with shelves of aged law books. He hires an actor to pose as a veteran of the legal profession should Tadano America Corp wish to meet with its legal counsel. And, finally, he creates a fake website in case anyone becomes suspicious and decides to do a little research on Maio & Cardenas.

Alas, Chiofalo’s scheme was disappointing in its simplicity. He used a rental mailbox at a retail store as the fake firm’s postal address. Effective? Yes. Inventive? Hardly.

A total of $US9.3 million in payments from Tadano America Corp was deposited into a bank account controlled by Chiofalo between May 2011 and May 2012, according to James Glass, a certified fraud examiner hired by the corporation.

Glass’ investigation also revealed that Chiofalo had spent $US1.8 million on an assortment of artwork, photographs, collectibles, comic books and memorabilia from Heritage Auction, a collectables auctioneer.

Chiofalo was certified to practice law in the state of New York but was suspended for two years starting in October 2010, the Houston Chronicle discovered. The corporation’s leaders told investigators that they believed the suspect had been a licensed attorney the entire time he worked for them.

Maybe if Chiofalo had put a little more effort into the ruse he might have gotten away with it. Folklaw is just saying ...

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyer makes millions with fake firm
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...