A judge in Colorado has imprisoned former California attorney David Kaplan for 36 months after he admitted his part in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

“[Lawyers] are not above the law, and this sentencing demonstrates that we can, and will, prosecute anyone who breaks the law,” said acting US Attorney Matt Kirsch.

According to court documents, in the 13 months to October 2015 Kaplan and two others defrauded investors out of money and property through materially false and fraudulent representations.

They obtained around $12m (€10m) by claiming they could invest risk-free in offshore investments with an occasional 10% return per month on investments.

Kaplan of Las Vegas, Nevada, established and controlled business entities, including charitable organisations, to deposit and transfer investor funds and pay himself for personal expenses.

“Using his position and attorney trust accounts, Kaplan was able to gain the trust of investors and create the pretence that investor moneys were held in trust,” said the US Attorney’s office for Colorado. “Kaplan made payments to investors to lull them and encourage the recruitment of additional investors.”

He also diverted more $2m for his own personal benefit and never disclosed to investors the precise amount of financial benefit he was to receive despite them requesting the information, the office said.


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