Not to get all Andy Rooney on you, but have you ever noticed that convicted fraudsters often fall "ill" just prior to sentencing, as if the federal court is going to take mercy on the sacks of lying shit and just let them skate?
Gerald M. Shaw's lawyer informed U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney in Santa Ana a couple weeks back that the Covina 63-year-old skipped sentencing on several federal counts connected to his having bilked investors out of more than $4.3 million. Why? Because Shaw checked himself into a hospital after suffering a stroke or heart attack or somesuch.
Carney didn't buy it, noting that federal penitentiaries are perfectly equipped to nurse ailing inmates back to health. The judge issued a warrant for Shaw's arrest and--it's a Christmas miracle!--Shaw appeared before Carney Tuesday to receive this gift: 70 months in Club Fed.
Shaw and 55-year-old Gregory De Lavalette solicited investments from victims--some of whom were clients of Shaw's Corona del Mar law practice--they said would be used to trade European bank instruments. The money would be held as collateral, remain completely safe and be returned within 30 days after drawing yields as high as 40 percent, the pair swore to their marks.
Of course, Shaw and De Lavalette did not invest (or eventually return) any of the money, instead using it for business and personal expenses. Shaw was the bigger piggy, defrauding 10 investors out of $4.5 million. De Lavalette's take was $395,000.
Following complaints from the ripped off, some of whom plopped a cool $1 million into the scheme, the FBI investigated and the U.S. Attorney's office successfully built a case that resulted in guilty pleas from Shaw and De Lavalette, who is still awaiting sentencing. Shaw was disbarred in July.
"I'll work till my dying day to pay back those monies," Shaw told Carney Tuesday. "I choose, your honor, to take responsibility."
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It's about time. Not that his plea amounts to much. Carney, who noted the life savings of some were wiped out by Shaw, ordered him to repay everyone he stole from.
But the crumb bum is plum broke.