Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Edward Reich, former president of the Brooklyn Bar Association and a member of its Judiciary Committee for 27 years, was sentenced to a 27-month term of imprisonment and fined $75,000 for accepting bribes to lower the sale price on three foreclosure sales that he was appointed by the court to oversee. Reich entered a guilty plea to one conspiracy count after being indicted on 16 counts, and as part of the plea agreement he surrendered his law license and will pay $10,500 in restitution. The Sentencing Guidelines for the offense provided a 33-41 month range, and U.S. District Judge John Gleeson departed downward a bit in imposing the sentence. The court received approximately 20 letters of support, including one from the Chief Bankruptcy Judge in the Eastern District of New York, asserting that Reich's actions were aberrational. Judge Gleeson still imposed a fairly significant sentence on a 68-year old former leader of the bar with no prior record. Of course, Reich didn't help his case by asserting to the judge that no one was harmed by his conduct and admitting that an affidavit he filed to suppress statements made to FBI agents was false in its assertion that he did not know that he could refuse to speak with the agents.
Like so many other stories of this type, Reich ended his career over a trivial amount of money. Would you sell your law license for $10,500? A New York Law Journal story (available on Law.Com here) discusses the prosecution and sentencing. (ph)