Summary: The former Bryan Cave attorney convicted of trying to help cheat lenders in a fraudulent scheme was disbarred.
A former attorney at Bryan Cave convicted of participating in a scheme to cheat lenders of millions was disbarred. Harvey Newkirk was convicted in 2015 by a federal jury of wire fraud but acquitted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Newkirk submitted a request for his resignation and disbarment. A unanimous Appellate Division, First Department panel accepted the request. The panel’s written notice states that Newkirk “attests that he cannot successfully defend himself against allegations of professional misconduct based upon his conviction,” according to Law.com.
Newkirk was accused of trying to get millions of dollars out of lenders with the purchase of Maxim magazines. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York sentenced Newkirk in 2016 to six months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution, the amount of actual loss in the Maxim scheme.
The disbarment order also stipulates that Newkirk must pay $3.1 million in restitution to OpenGate Capital, a California company that Newkirk acknowledged as one of the victims of his fraud.
Newkirk’s 2015 trial drew a lot of attention, seeing as how he was an Ivy League graduate for his undergraduate and law degree. He was a transactional lawyer of counsel at Bryan Cave when the case began. Before that, he had worked for K&L Gates and Thelen, a now-defunct law firm.
The case began when Calvin Darden Jr., Newkirk’s client, was trying to buy Maxim. Newkirk claimed that he thought he would get a large bonus from transaction fees on the sale, helping him get on the fast track to partnership, so he went all out to make the sale happen.
Darden, a former stockbroker, had already served time in state prison for stealing nearly $6 million from Wall Street firms and investors when he met Newkirk in 2009. In 2013, they set out to pursue the men’s lifestyle magazine. For half a year they lied to lenders about who was financing the acquisition. They claimed Darden’s father, Calvin Darden Sr., was the buyer. Darden Sr. is a successful businessman, former United Parcel Service executive, and board member for Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Darden Jr. and Newkirk alleged to the lenders that Darden Sr. was pledging his assets on the deal, forging documents, bank account statements, and emails to show lenders. They were able to borrow $8 million by doing this and were trying to get another $20 million.
In reality, Darden Sr. had nothing to do with the deal and had never hired Newkirk. The only role Darden Sr. had in the scheme was to give his son some business advice, according to prosecutors.
Darden Jr. ended up pleading guilty before Newkirk’s trial began, allowing him to help prosecutors out and take the stand against his former lawyer. Newkirk’s attorneys Priya Chaudhry and Jonathan Harris of Harris, St. Laurent & Chaudhry, claimed that Newkirk had been duped by a “world-class con man.”
The guidelines in the case suggested that Newkirk receive 14 to 17 years in prison, but Rakoff ignored this. Rakoff said, “I don’t agree with the government that this was a man motivated by endless greed … The truth so often lies in between.”
Newkirk represented himself in the disbarment. Chaudhry noted by phone to Law.com regarding the disbarment, “If Mr. Newkirk reapplies after seven years, it would be a loss if the New York bar did not consider readmitting him. He is an excellent attorney.”
To learn more about the case, read “Maxim” Scammer Testifies Against His Lawyer.
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To read about other recently disbarred attorneys, see these articles:
- Philadelphia Lawyer Brian Meehan Disbarred
- Former Skadden Partner Disbarred for Child Pornography
- Lesbian Attorney Who Won Custody of Daughter Now Disbarred