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Lawyer Linked to ‘Alliance’ Pleads Guilty

An Encino lawyer pleaded guilty Friday to two misdemeanor tax charges in exchange for dismissal of 28 felony counts in “the Alliance” insurance fraud and legal corruption case.

Mark M. Geyer, 40, entered the plea in federal court in San Diego. He is the seventh attorney and 13th person to plead guilty in the case, but the first to plead only to misdemeanor charges unrelated to activities of the lawyers whom prosecutors call “the Alliance.”

Geyer’s involvement with the other attorneys lasted about three months in early 1987 and prosecutors “recognized from the very first day that he was the least culpable defendant,” Geyer’s lawyer, James C. Chalfant, said.

During Geyer’s brief involvement, he “learned things that caused him concern, and ultimately he did not want any further part of it,” Chalfant said.

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The two misdemeanor counts stemmed from Geyer’s failure to withhold proper amounts of income taxes from two workers he briefly employed in 1987. Each count is punishable by a year in prison and a $25,000 fine, but prosecutors agreed to recommend no more than probation on one count.

The 28 mail fraud and racketeering charges are to be dismissed at sentencing in August.

Geyer was among those indicted last April in the case, which has targeted lawyers, law firm employees and clients in the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and San Diego. The attorneys are accused of secretly cooperating to expand a series of complex civil cases in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, thereby generating millions of dollars in extra defense fees from insurance companies.

Trial of nine remaining defendants is scheduled to start in April.

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