by Brian Mahany
Rabbi Moshe Meisels files suit in a Bergen County, New Jersey Superior Court against Fox Rothschild, a well respected U.S. law firm. Meisels claims he lost $2.4 in a real estate scam involving Eliyahu Weinstein. Unfortunately, fraud is alive and well. That a rabbi might lose money in a real estate fraud isn’t especially surprising. That he would sue a law firm for aiding and abetting the fraud is newsworthy.
Most of our clients are very successful and intelligent people. Absent winning the lottery, most folks who lose big money in a fraud had to be pretty smart to earn that money in the first place. Our clients often include CPAs, lawyers, physicians and business owners. Rabbi Meisels certainly falls into the category of being highly educated and intelligent.
According to court documents in both New Jersey and New York, Meisels and businesses he controlled transferred $27 million to Eli Weinstein. The money was sent to Fox Rothschild and first deposited into their attorney trust account. Later it was disbursed.
Rabbi Meisels claims the law firm has some responsibility in this case because it allowed its trust account to be used to facilitate a fraud. By having the money go through a trust account, the law firm gave the impression that the investment program was legitimate and safe.
Meisels will have a tough road ahead of him. Victims of fraud often sue the “deep pockets” involved with the case. Because the fraudster typically spends much of not all of the ill-gotten gains, the only way for victims to collect is to sue those involved in the transaction. This can include accountants, lawyers, auditors and stock brokers, depending on the particular scheme. Recently several fraud victims have also successfully sued banks for their roles in lending legitimacy to fraudsters.
To win in its case against Fox Rothschild, Rabbi Meisels will have to prove more than use of the firm’s attorney trust account. In his complaint, the Rabbi says that one of the firm’s lawyers (now apparently departed) made it appear that the investment was legitimate. How that will be proven remains to be seen.
If you hire a lawyer to investigate a potential investment scheme, you may have an action for malpractice if the lawyer fails to perform his or her job properly. In most cases, however, the investors never seek legal help before they invest. Meisels is not claiming that Fox Rothschild represented him.
Winning a suit against a lawyer for another party is more difficult. Lawyers for other parties have a duty to their respective client, not all parties involved in the transaction. Meisels will need to prove that Fox Rothschild took some action that induced him to invest. This is a case we will follow closely.
The fraud lawyers at Mahany & Ertl help victims of fraud recover their hard earned money. We help people and businesses get back money from failed real estate investments, Ponzi scheme, abusive tax shelters (419 and 412 scams) and bank fraud. We also sue professionals such as lawyers, accountants and stockbrokers for their roles in frauds.
If you lost your money and are wondering how to get it back, give us a call. All inquiries are protected by the attorney client privilege and kept in strict confidence. For more more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (direct).
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Legal services available in many jurisdictions.