A high-profile former lawyer who donated big money to Democrats and hosted a fundraiser for President Biden was indicted by federal grand juries on Wednesday in two states for allegedly embezzling more than $18 million from legal clients.
The Justice Department announced that Tom Girardi, 83, was charged in Los Angeles with five counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum 20-year federal prison sentence. According to prosecutors, the charges were part of an indictment accusing him of embezzling more than $15 million from clients and using the funds to cover his law firm’s payroll and pay his personal expenses.
The case also includes charges against Christopher Kamon, the former chief financial officer of Girardi’s LA-based law firm, Girardi Keese, indicating they ‘devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud victim clients’ until the firm collapsed in late 2020.
In Chicago, meanwhile, Girardi, his son-in-law David Lira, and Kamon were charged with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of contempt of court. Prosecutors allege the trio stole more than $3 million in settlement funds meant for family members of those who died in a Boeing plane crash off the coast of Indonesia.
Wednesday’s indictments mark the latest chapter in the remarkable downfall of Girardi, who was one of the most prominent attorneys in LA before being disbarred in disgrace in California last year.
Before his downfall, Girardi cultivated close ties with a plethora of powerful Democratic politicians at all levels of government — mayors, governors, members of Congress, presidents, and presidential candidates — through large donations and lavish spending on fundraisers.
Girardi, his relatives, and employees gave at least $7.5 million in political contributions to candidates and political committees, from city council races to presidential campaigns, according to a 2020 analysis by the Los Angeles Times. Most of that money went to Democrats, including Biden, for whom Girardi also hosted a ritzy fundraiser in LA during the 2020 presidential cycle.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
In addition to Biden, Girardi has given tens of thousands of dollars each to the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and a host of other elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom received a total of $87,600 from Girardi for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and a total of $8,500 for his 2014 lieutenant governor campaign, campaign finance records show.
Over the last decade, Girardi and his estranged wife, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ reality TV star Erika Jayne, gave more than $2 million to the national Democratic Party and individual candidates, according to election filings. And that was despite Girardi reportedly defaulting on high-interest loans and being forced to liquidate his stock portfolio.
Girardi’s deep pockets and status as both a celebrity and high-powered attorney reportedly gave him easy and intimate access to Democrats both on Capitol Hill and in the California governor’s mansion.
However, amid worsening legal issues, Girardi’s lavish lifestyle steadily came crashing down, culminating with Wednesday’s indictments.
Beyond losing his political influence, Girardi is also in the process of divorce from Jayne, who filed for the separation in 2020 after 21 years in marriage. The two had appeared on Jayne’s reality show together.
Fox News’ Tracy Wright contributed reporting.