He must have felt entitled

What do sentencing guidelines say about chutzpah?

A Baltimore man convicted of Social Security fraud in federal court this week not only was fraudulently collecting disability benefits, but he also did it while he worked for the Social Security Administration.

Christopher George Perry, 50, was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore of Social Security disability fraud, federal health benefit program fraud and health care fraud.

Perry began receiving Social Security long-term disability payments in 1996, according to evidence during the four-day trial, but he went back to work during that year while continuing to draw payments. Two years later, Perry added Medicare benefits under his disability and then, in 2007, he got a low-income prescription subsidy via Medicare.

However, Perry was working various jobs and attending college during this time. In 2007, he got a job with the Social Security Administration as a benefits authorizer. His work assignment? Long-term disability cases. He would certainly seem to have some expertise in that area.

At trial, Perry was said to have collected more than $150,000 he wasn’t entitled to. Sentencing is in January.

And this kind of double-dipping is far worse than anything George Constanza ever did.

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‘Warrior Lawyer’ launches Facebook attack

Baltimore’s “Warrior Lawyer” is waging battle a little farther south down I-95.

J. Wyndal Gordon, the “Warrior Lawyer,” unleashed an attack on Washington, D.C., Councilman Michael Brown in a post on Facebook this week.

“I never was much into D.C. politics, but I do know a Rat when I smell one,” the post begins.

Gordon is representing Brown’s former campaign manager, Hakim Sutton. Brown fired Sutton after discovering campaign funds were missing. Gordon wrote the post after Brown held a news conference announcing the $114,000 in missing campaign money.

Gordon went on to accuse Brown of “skulduggery and debauchery,” saying Brown failed to properly pay employees and hinted that Brown himself had taken the missing money.

“It is due to his own laziness, arrogance, narcissism and greed that Brown finds himself in the position he’s in today [with little money], — not some false claim of theft as he would have the public to wholesale believe,” Gordon wrote in the post.

Glass ceiling?

For many journalists, making the transition into a law career is an easy, if not common one.

That is, unless you are disgraced former reporter Stephen Glass.

Glass made waves in the media world in 1998 after it was discovered that 42 of the articles he had written for The New Republic in two years were fabricated or partially fabricated. (The saga is chronicled in the movie, “Shattered Glass,” starring Hayden Christensen in a role that portrays Glass as savvy and manipulative.)

Glass, however, turned to the law after being collectively shunned by the journalism world. Glass had been taking night classes at Georgetown Law while working for The New Republic and started day classes after the scandal broke. He later passed the New York bar exam, but when he applied for his law license he found out it would be rejected on moral grounds and withdrew.

Glass eventually moved to California and applied for his law license there in 2009. His request was denied, which he appealed in a closed trial. The judge ruled in favor of Glass and his opponents appealed to the California Supreme Court, where the case was opened in December. No hearing date has been set.

In the meantime, Glass found work at a California law firm, and Paul Zuckerman, the trial lawyer who hired Glass, wants to eventually make him a partner. Zuckerman, who has a history of substance abuse, said he wanted to give Glass a second chance.

According to an article on TheRecord.com, though, law professors are divided on whether Glass, with his reputation, should be able to become a lawyer.

“What grates me is the idea that he is not honorable enough for journalism, so let the lawyers have him,” a New York University law professor told the publication. “Why should the legal system bear the risk?”

Law blog roundup

Welcome back! Time to catch up on some law-related tidbits:

  • In a rough divorce, who gets to keep the friends?
  • Even good doctors make mistakes — and doctors who do work on superstar athletes are not immune from malpractice lawsuits.
  • Consumers struggling with payments really have to be on the lookout these days for scammers,  but some in Erie, Penn. have been duped beyond the norm. A debt collection company there set up a FAKE courtroom, complete with faux judges and sheriffs. This one’s a doozy.
  • An insurer is suing the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority for $8 million because its water lines are so leaky that firefighters could not get enough pressure to put out a fire in the home of Peggy Cooper-Cafritz, a collector of fine art.
  • Voters in Iowa ousted three judges from the state’s Supreme Court last week. The three were part of the unanimous decision to allow same-sex marriage in 2009.
  • Lamebook v. Facebook
  • The University of Missouri, Kansas City has launched a small firm and solo attorney incubator for recent grads.

One costly expense report

My expense report consists primarily of parking receipts and courthouse document copies. So I was impressed when I read a former legal secretary charged more than $46,000 on a company credit card to finance her side business – male exotic dancers.

Jarriette Richie, 41, was charged in Washington, D.C. federal court with fraud last week, according to The Washington Post. Richie worked at Saul Ewing LLP’s Washington office for three months in 2007, according to court filings. The credit card belonged to a lawyer whose firm merged with Saul Ewing, and all information related to the card was kept “in a locked room near Richie’s desk at Saul Ewing,” according to court filings.

Richie’s side businesses was Show N Tell Entertainment, which catered to female audiences and was based out of Richie’s Clinton home. The fraud charges stem from her planning an August 2007 trip to a Puerto Rican resort featuring the male performers. She used a personal credit cart to cover a $5,000 deposit, but then charged more than $21,000 on the company credit card for airline tickets and more than $25,000 for expenses at the resort, according to court filings.

Richie was released on her own recognizance following her initial court appearance Sept. 4, and her next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.