Dreier To Plead Guilty Next Month

Apr 28 2009 | 2:10am ET

When prominent New York lawyer Marc Dreier was arrested in Toronto in December, his lawyer dismissed the charges as “relatively minor” and said his client would plead not guilty. But now, facing much more serious charges of ripping investors off to the tune of $700 million, another Dreier does not plan to put up a fight.

His lawyer, Gerald Shargel, told a federal judge yesterday that his client will plead guilty to all eight counts against him. Dreier has been charged with conspiracy, money laundering and securities and wire fraud in connection with his alleged scam, and faces as much as 145 years in prison.

Dreier, who was present at the New York hearing, had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included defrauding at least seven hedge funds of more than $400 million. His alleged victims include such industry luminaries as Fortress Investment Group, Elliott Management Corp., Perella Weinberg Partners, GSO Capital Partners and the collapsed Amaranth Advisors. Dreier allegedly sold phony discount notes he claimed were issued by a well-known New York City real-estate developer; the Securities and Exchange Commission, in its own lawsuit against Dreier, says he sold at least 85 forged notes between 2004 and last year.

Shargel tried to lighten the criminal load on his client, but U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied his motion to dismiss the securities fraud count and part of the conspiracy count. Shargel had argued that, since the notes Dreier allegedly sold were bogus, they could not be classified as securities.

Dreier is set to enter his new plea on May 11.

“He wants to end it,” Shargel said, “because he accepts responsibility for what he did.”

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