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In re Ohle

Supreme Court of Louisiana

October 24, 2014

IN RE: JOHN BREWSTER OHLE, III

IN RE: Disciplinary Counsel; -- Other; Applying For Findings and Recommendations (Formal Charges) Office of Disciplinary Board, No. 10-DB-075;

Bernette J. Johnson, Jeannette Theriot Knoll, John L. Weimer, Marcus R. Clark, Jefferson D. Hughes, III.

OPINION

Page 1227

[14-1083 La. 1] ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

PER CURIAM

This disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (" ODC" ) against respondent, John Brewster Ohle, III, an attorney licensed to practice law in Louisiana but currently on interim suspension based upon his conviction of a serious crime. In re: Ohle, 10-1707 (La. 8/13/10), 41 So.3d 1175.

UNDERLYING FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In November 2008, respondent was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York on various tax and fraud offenses. In August 2009, the Government filed an eight-count Second Superseding Indictment against respondent. The presiding federal judge severed three of these counts in January 2010,[1] and the Government proceeded to trial on the severed counts only, subsequently recast as the Third Superseding Indictment. Count One charged respondent with conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. As charged to the jury, the conspiracy had two objects: (1) to commit wire fraud by obtaining fees, directly or indirectly, from Bank One, and (2) to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. In Counts Two and Three, respondent was charged with evasion of his [14-1083 La. 2] personal income tax obligations for the 2001 and 2002 tax years, respectively, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201.

The underlying facts of the Third Superseding Indictment are complex, but essentially, the Government alleged that respondent's criminal conduct occurred as part of an effort to market, sell, and implement a tax shelter known as " Hedge Option Monetization of Economic Remainder," or HOMER, which respondent designed for high net worth clients of Bank

Page 1228

One. Respondent, who is also a CPA, allegedly prepared fraudulent invoices to obtain referral fees from Bank One on the transactions relating to this tax shelter, although he was not entitled to receive the fees, and then concealed the receipt of the ill-gotten referral fees by failing to report them on his individual tax returns. Furthermore, the Government alleged that respondent embezzled at least $3 million dollars from a client's trust account and willfully evaded taxes on approximately $6.5 million in income in 2001 and 2002.

On June 2, 2010, following a three-week trial, the jury found respondent guilty of all three counts of the Third Superseding Indictment. In response to a special interrogatory, the jury found that the Government had proven respondent's guilt with respect to both alleged objects of the Count One conspiracy.[2]

In January 2011, respondent was sentenced to serve 60 months in a federal penitentiary, followed by a three-year period of supervised release. Respondent was ordered to pay $5,553,680.74 in restitution plus the cost of prosecution, and [14-1083 La. 3] ordered to forfeit $2,954,334 in proceeds traceable to the charged conspiracy, as well as his interest in the property detailed in the indictment.

On October 20, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed respondent's conviction in an unpublished opinion. Mandate issued on March 6, 2012. Respondent subsequently filed a motion to set aside his conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The § 2255 motion remains pending at this time.[3]

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

In November 2010, the ODC filed one count of formal charges against respondent, alleging that his conduct as set forth above violated Rules 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct), 8.4(b) (commission of a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer), 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), and ...


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