Former CFO of Tom Girardi’s law firm arrested on suspicion of federal wire fraud
The man who held the purse strings at Tom Girardi’s corruption-plagued law firm was arrested over the weekend by federal agents in Maryland on suspicion of wire fraud, according to court records and the FBI.
Christopher Kamon, former chief financial officer at Girardi Keese, was taken into custody at Baltimore-Washington International Airport after returning from the Bahamas. He was being held on the basis of a criminal complaint prepared by an FBI agent in Los Angeles and signed Saturday by a federal magistrate judge here.
An affidavit outlining the case against Kamon, 49, remains under seal. Much is unclear about the circumstances of his arrest, which was first reported by Law360, and the allegations against him. Attorneys for Kamon did not respond to messages seeking comment.
The date provided for the alleged instance of wire fraud — Sept. 16, 2020 — suggested his arrest was related to his work at Girardi Keese. The venerable law firm collapsed a few months later amid evidence of rampant misappropriation of clients’ money.
On the date listed on the complaint, Girardi was being pressed to pay millions he owed to a group of Indonesian widows and orphans he had represented in a lawsuit against Boeing over an airline crash.
Though a judge referred Girardi to federal prosecutors for criminal investigation later in 2020, neither the attorney nor any of his former employees have been charged before Kamon’s arrest. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year, Girardi is in a court-ordered conservatorship and unable to answer questions under oath.
In response to a petition from The Times, the State Bar revealed it had received more than 200 complaints against Tom Girardi yet long kept quiet.
Kamon is believed to have vast knowledge of Girardi’s financial affairs.
Starting at the firm around 2000 as an accounts payable clerk, he worked his way up to CFO. In that role, he dealt directly with the legal legend and had authority to wire money from firm accounts and sign checks to clients and others, according to filings from a trustee overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings of Girardi Keese. He also negotiated with lenders and oversaw the firm’s retirement plan.
After the implosion of Girardi Keese, Kamon retained high-powered criminal defense attorneys from the white-shoe law firm Skadden Arps and has refused to answer questions under oath in at least two court proceedings.
He invoked his right against self-incrimination in Bankruptcy Court as attorneys searched for funds to repay cheated clients and other creditors and in a federal hearing in Illinois in which lawyers from Girardi Keese were grilled about what they knew and did about Girardi’s misappropriation.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin, who oversaw that proceeding, wrote in a decision last week that Girardi “was running a Ponzi scheme with client money.”
Kamon did cooperate with the bankruptcy trustee last year in turning over a laptop containing financial records related to the firm.
Kamon appeared in a Baltimore federal courtroom Monday and was ordered temporarily detained in a local jail, the Chesapeake Detention Center, pending a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
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