W. Franklyn Chinn, Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III's former financial adviser, has defrauded clients of at least $1.3 million since he began managing Meese's investments in 1985, according to an affidavit by an Internal Revenue Service investigator.
The affidavit, filed in U. S. District Court in New York last week, says at least $380,000 of the fraudulently obtained funds remains under Chinn's control in accounts in Hong Kong and London.
Chinn was indicted last month in New York on racketeering charges, along with E. Bob Wallach, Meese's longtime friend and lawyer, and West Coast businessman R. Kent London. The charges are in connection with millions of dollars the three men are alleged to have siphoned from the scandal-plagued Wedtech Corp. in return for promises to influence Meese and other federal officials.
Independent Counsel's Staff
The affidavit was filed by Robert L. Charboneau, an agent assigned to independent counsel James C. McKay's investigation of Meese's involvement in the Wedtech affair. It was filed in connection with a bail hearing in which bail was set at $1 million each for Chinn and London and $500,000 for Wallach.
Chinn has said through his lawyers that he does not believe his activities were fraudulent. He has not been charged with securities violations in connection with his activities.
Charboneau does not say in the affidavit whether Meese's investment account was affected by Chinn's financial manipulations. In an amendment to his 1985 and 1986 government financial disclosures filed last fall, Meese acknowledged that occasional trades made by Chinn on his behalf may have involved more money than was actually in the account.
Meese invested about $50,000 with Chinn on May 23, 1985, and that grew to more than $90,000 by the time Meese terminated the partnership last June 30.