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Former Dewey & LeBoeuf CFO Sanders vows to appeal guilty verdict

A Manhattan jury has found former Dewey & LeBoeuf chief financial officer (CFO) Joel Sanders guilty of altering the US firm’s accounts to cover up its shaky financials ahead of its demise.

The trial, which began in May 2015, came to an end this week when a jury of eight women and four men found Sanders guilty of scheme to defraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. Former executive director Stephen DiCarmine was cleared of the same charges.

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr tried to persuade jurors that DiCarmine and Sanders conspired to mislead the firm’s investors about its financial position, ahead of its bankruptcy in May 2012. With Sanders’ conviction, he faces a maximum sentence of one and one-third years to four years in prison. Sanders’ lead defence lawyer, Andrew Frisch, has announced an intention to appeal the decision.

In a statement, Vance said: ‘Joel Sanders used his position as chief financial officer to mask the failing financial health of Dewey & LeBoeuf, leading insurers and lenders to believe the firm was still above water.

‘For years, the firm’s financial department – led by Sanders – orchestrated a scheme to hide and manipulate its losses, directing employees to alter accounts to feign compliance with the firm’s lending agreements.’

An earlier 2015 four-month trial ended in a mistrial after a deadlocked jury. In that case, Sanders, DiCarmine and former Dewey chairman Steven Davis were charged with several counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud. Since then, Davis has reached a deferred prosecution and did not appear as a defendant in the retrial.

At its peak, Dewey comprised around 1,450 lawyers, but the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after its ill-fated 2007 merger between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.