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Baltimore attorney charged with racketeering, drug conspiracy

A Baltimore defense attorney was federally indicted Wednesday on racketeering, drug and money laundering conspiracy charges.

Kenneth W. Ravenell, 60, is accused of receiving payments from a drug trafficker client and his associates in exchange for instructing them about how to evade police and continue their operations, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ken Ravenell, Baltimore Attorney (The Daily Record/File photo)

Ken Ravenell, Baltimore Attorney (The Daily Record/File photo)

Ravenell, of Ravenell Law, was previously a partner at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy during the years referenced in the indictment, 2009 to 2014. The indictment accuses Ravenell of “violating the legitimate purposes of The Law Firm in order to enrich himself (and a co-conspirator) through illegal conduct, including receiving monies” from a drug trafficker and his associates during the period.

Ravenell also allegedly “protected and assisted co-conspirators in their drug trafficking,” laundered money through his firm’s bank accounts, received drug payments in the firm’s accounts and created false records to conceal the source of funds, according to the release. The indictment also alleges Ravenell used funds from co-conspirators to pay attorneys retained to represent other members of the conspiracy and concealed the source of the funds from those attorneys.

In addition, Ravenell obtained information about arrested co-conspirators and provided that information to others to protect ongoing drug operations and attempted to improperly influence incarcerated co-conspirators he did not represent to get them to execute false affidavits and statements, according to the release.

Prosecutors say Ravenell “received substantial cash payments” in exchange for laundering money and protecting co-conspirators. Ravenell allegedly provided advice such as using pay phones, in-person meetings and burner phones to discuss drug operations, as well as removing batteries from cell phones and leaving them outside during meetings to prevent the proceedings from being recorded, according to the indictment.

No one answered a phone call to Ravenell’s office on Wednesday and Ravenell did not return a message left on a mobile phone voicemail.

Ravenell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, 20 years for money laundering conspiracy and life in prison for narcotics conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady, who sits in the Eastern District of Virginia, is assigned to the case.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service in June executed federal search warrants at the offices of Ravenell and of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP attorney Joshua Treem, who represented Ravenell.

Brown, Goldstein & Levy partner Andy Freeman said Wednesday that it was unfortunate Treem’s name was “dragged through the mud” by prosecutors who he said became impatient with their inability to build a case against Ravenell. The office successfully argued in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month for the return of files seized in June.

In filings with the 4th Circuit, prosecutors accused Treem of “obstructive conduct” that hindered their investigation. Treem withdrew his representation of Ravenell earlier this year, Freeman said.

“I’m confident that Josh has never done anything wrong and hasn’t been charged with doing anything wrong,” Freeman said.

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