Friday, November 22, 2019

Convictions Draw Interim Suspension

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has suspended attorneys convicted of  "serious crimes" in unrelated matters.

One guilty plea was described in this release from the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

Thomas Moir, 37, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to distribution of child pornography stemming from his actions sharing child pornography with users on a social networking site from October 2018 –January 2019, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu.

  Moir pled guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of distribution of child pornography. He will be sentenced on October 1, 2019, by the Honorable    John D. Bates. Moir faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years. Following release, he will also be required to register as a sex offender. 

   Moir was chief of staff for the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel at the time of the offense, though there is no evidence that he used Government property to commit the offense or that his role had anything to do with the offense. 

   According to the Government’s evidence, beginning on or about October 10, 2018, Moir uploaded multiple images depicting child pornography to a social networking site in order to share and discuss these images with other users. He used multiple accounts to upload and share child pornography and did so on multiple occasions from October 2018 to January 2019. Images that Moir uploaded from at least one account were flagged as child pornography by the social networking site and sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for review. These images were then sent to the FBI, which traced them back to devices used by Moir.

From the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia

A federal jury convicted a Fairfax attorney today on charges of conspiring to defraud and to launder fraud proceeds totaling over $1.5 million, including funds embezzled from Virginia State Senator Richard Saslaw’s campaign account, a Canadian business, and an organization intended to support students with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, David H. Miller, 70, conspired with his wife, Linda Diane Wallis, to defraud three categories of victims from 2011 through 2014. First, Miller, an attorney, conspired with Wallis to create two fake law firms, Federal Legal Associates and The Straile Group. Miller and Wallis used the two fake law firms to fraudulently bill Miller’s employer, SkyLink Air and Logistic Support, Inc. (SkyLink), a Canadian based aviation company that maintained an office in Dulles, for purported legal work that was never actually performed. Miller and Wallis caused approximately $368,400 in losses to SkyLink. 

Second, Miller and Wallis embezzled approximately $653,000 from the campaign account of Senator Saslaw. From June 2013 to September 2014, Wallis served as the treasurer of the Saslaw for State Senate campaign. During that time, Wallis issued over 70 fraudulent checks from the Saslaw for State Senate campaign bank account, which totaled approximately $653,000. All of the checks were issued without the knowledge or permission of Senator Saslaw or his campaign staff, and were ultimately deposited into accounts that were controlled by Miller or Wallis.

Third, Miller and Wallis misappropriated funds from an autism organization, which Miller co-founded and for which Wallis served as the Executive Director. The organization, known as The Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities (CCCAID), claimed to provide assistance to community colleges to develop programs for individuals with autism and other intellectual disabilities. Between April 2010 and April 2013, community colleges located around the country and an individual donated approximately $783,000 to CCCAID. The funds contributed to CCCAID were supposed to be used to further the mission of the organization and not to enrich Miller or Wallis. Despite these restrictions, from 2011 through 2014, Miller and Wallis embezzled over $600,000 from CCCAID’s bank account and used the money to pay their own personal expenses.

Miller and Wallis laundered the proceeds of their crimes through multiple bank accounts and ultimately spent the funds on lavish personal expenses, including mortgage payments on a million-dollar home in Fairfax, renovations to an oceanfront property owned by Miller in Bethany Beach, Delaware, dues payments to the Country Club of Fairfax, and travel on private aircraft from Manassas to Montego Bay, Jamaica for a family vacation at a luxury oceanfront resort.

Miller’s co-conspirator and wife, Linda Diane Wallis, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 56 months in prison on Mar. 18, 2016.

Miller faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison on each of ten counts of conviction when sentenced on Jan. 24, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the verdict. Assistants U.S. Uzo E. Asonye and Samantha P. Bateman are prosecuting the case.

The interim suspensions will be in place until final discipline is imposed unless set aside by court order .  (Mike Frisch)

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