There’s at least one person who’s willing to stand by Douglas Arntsen, the former Crowell & Moring associate accused of stealing millions of dollars from clients’ escrow funds and fleeing to Hong Kong to avoid being arrested.
Carter, Ledyard & Milburn Partner Alan Lewis, a prominent white-collar defense attorney, is now representing Arntsen, who worked with him at the law firm now known as Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney from 2005 to 2006. Lewis has represented high-profile clients in the past, including former Donnkenny Inc. CEO Richard Rubin, who pleaded guilty in 1999 of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Currently he represents former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, who was convicted in 2005 of stealing more than $600 million from the company, and Christopher Finazzo, the former executive vice president of Aeropostale who was charged in 2010 in connection with a $14 million kickback scheme.
At Arntsen’s bail hearing last Friday, prosecutors argued that Manhattan Criminal Judge Abraham Clott shouldn’t grant Arntsen bail because of his escape to Hong Kong this past fall, when authorities charged him with embezzling $2.5 million in client funds. Prosecutors said Arntsen is now under investigation for stealing more than $28 million.
But Lewis asserted that his client didn’t flee to Hong Kong to escape arrest, but rather had traveled there because of a pre-planned trip. He said that the idea that Arntsen was a serious flight risk was “absurd.” Although he offered to post Arntsen’s parents’ Staten Island home, valued at more than $500,000, as bail, the judge rejected the offer, remanded Arntsen and set his next court date for April 19.
Arntsen faces up to 25 years in prison for charges for first-degree larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud. He and Crowell & Moring face at least three civil lawsuits related to his alleged theft.