Summary: One of the namesakes of Morris Hardwick Schneider has been sued by the firm for embezzling more than $30 million from the firm.
Nathan E. Hardwick IV has been accused of embezzling some $30 million from escrow accounts at his own law firm, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court this week against Hardwick, who was in charge of the residential practice for the law firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider.
The attorney for Hardwick, Ed Garland, said the following about the allegations:
“Nat became aware of a problem with the accounting earlier this summer and immediately alerted his partners and initiated a review by outside auditors. Anybody who knows Nat knows that he loves the law firm, its employees, the attorneys and the firm’s many loyal clients. He would never knowingly or intentionally take money he was not entitled to or harm the firm or its clients in any way. The law firm was profitable, and Nat believed that all of the money he received was properly distributed to him as his share of the profits of the firm.”
There is a title company involved in the claims named Landcastle, which is being acquired at a 70 percent stake by Fidelity National Title Group.
A letter sent to the law firm and to clients of Landcastle states the following:
“As you may have heard, we recently learned of substantial escrow account misappropriations within the law firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider. These activities could have negatively impacted the future of our company and our customers. However, Fidelity National Title Group, one of our long-standing and trusted partners, has agreed to step in as a 70% owner of Landcastle Title.”
The letter also said “a primary focus of both Landcastle Title and Fidelity is to protect the many consumers, customers, lenders and employees who would have been harmed by the escrow account misappropriations.”
Hardwick has already resigned from the law firm.
According to the lawsuit, Hardwick “systematically depleted the Firm accounts, including Firm Trust Accounts and Firm Operating Accounts for his personal benefits.”
Hardwick also reportedly created fraudulent bank records in an effort to hide missing money. Hardwick reportedly moved $6.3 million to a company he had control of and also used $1 million for the services of a private jet. The lawsuit also alleges that Hardwick used $645,000 of the firm’s money to cover for some of his failed real estate investments.
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