(Bloomberg) — Marc Dreier, the New York lawyer convicted of defrauding his hedge fund clients of $400 million, was ordered by a federal judge to testify in person in a trial over his bankrupt law firm.
Dreier, now serving a 20-year term at Sandstone Federal Correctional Institution in Minnesota, asked U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein to allow him to testify by video or telephone rather than appear in person in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Dreier said he already met numerous times with the court-appointed trustee about the administration of Dreier LLP, the firm he founded.
While I do not expect the parties or the court to be especially sympathetic to my own hardship, I point out that if I am compelled to be in New York I face an ordeal that entails several weeks of travel in each direction, handcuffed and shackled the whole time, with layovers in county courts and a stay of indefinite duration in the federal jail in Lower Manhattan, Dreier said in a letter that also includes a series of legal citations.
I am being asked to testify on a very narrow and seemingly uncontestable point, i.e., whether I engaged in a Ponzi scheme, a fact I have already conceded in open court, Dreier said in the Sept. 15 letter, which was made public today.
Hellerstein today denied Driers request, saying he hasnt been persuaded to change his mind from earlier in the month when he ordered the convicted lawyer to appear in court for the trial.
Dreier pleaded guilty in May 2009 to money laundering, conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud after admitting to stealing $400 million by selling fake notes to hedge funds to subsidize his firm and buy luxuries for himself, including a 121-foot yacht and $39 million in contemporary art.
Dreier was ordered to pay $387.7 million in restitution.
Gerald Shargel, a lawyer representing Dreier, didnt immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on todays ruling.
The civil case is Application pursuant to 28 USC 2241 (c)(5) of Sheila Gowan v. Warden, 14-cv-6554, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The criminal case is U.S. v. Dreier, 09-cr-00085, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).