Joseph P. Collins, an attorney from Winnetka, IL, was convicted of conspiracy stemming from the 2005 Refco fraud case and was sentenced by Judge Robert P. Patterson in Manhattan.
The Judge imposed the 7-year sentence, somewhat less than the 85-year term cited in federal sentencing guidelines. The reason for the shortened sentence was due to Collin’s history of charitable acts and his support of Chicago schools and the University of Notre Dame, according the the Judge. Patterson stated that the lawyer’s loyalty to a customer led him to his crimes.
“I don’t believe Mr. Collins committed these crimes for greed, for money,” Patterson said. “I think this is a case of excessive loyalty to a client,” he said. “It’s an admirable thing but in this case seems to have caused the crimes to be committed.”
Refco, the largest independent commodities broker in 2005 when it offered its Initial Public Offering (IPO) was bankrupt two months later when it was revealed that the company’s CEO had hidden $430 million in debt through an elaborate scheme of lending and borrowing.
The Refco fallout effected more than just a single company as the reputations of accounting and law firms affiliated with Refco were tarnished. Additionally, executives and others, like Attorney Joseph Collins face prison sentences. There are also 2,400 former employees that lost their jobs.