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Arntsen ordered held without bail

Judge says former Crowell & Moring associate accused of stealing funds is a serious flight risk

A bail hearing on Friday night didn’t go so well for Douglas Arntsen, the former Crowell & Moring associate accused of stealing millions of dollars from clients’ escrow funds.

In September 2011, Arntsen resigned from his job at Crowell & Moring at about the same time that one of the firm’s clients noticed money was missing from its escrow account. Arntsen fled to Hong Kong soon after, telling a colleague that that was where some of the missing money was located. Authorities charged Arntsen with embezzling $2.5 million in client funds and arrested him upon his arrival in Hong Kong. He currently faces up to 25 years in prison for charges for first-degree larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud. Additionally, he and Crowell & Moring face at least three civil lawsuits related to the alleged theft.

At Friday’s bail hearing, prosecutors argued that the judge shouldn’t grant Arntsen bail because of his escape to Hong Kong this past fall. Prosecutors also said that Arntsen is now under investigation for stealing more than $28 million.

Arntsen’s attorney, however, said that the idea that his client was a serious flight risk was “absurd.” He claims Arntsen has “extremely strong community ties” to Staten Island, where he has been a lifelong resident, and he offered to post Arntsen’s parents’ Staten Island home, valued at more than $500,000, as bail.

But Manhattan Criminal Judge Abraham Clott rejected the offer, remanded Arntsen and set his next court date for April 19.

Crowell & Moring maintains that it was appalled to learn about Arntsen’s conduct and that his behavior goes against everything for which the firm stands.

Read Thomson Reuters for more information about Friday’s bail hearing.

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