Sunday, December 4, 2022

Velasquez’s Lawyer Investigated For Genocide Settlement Fraud

Celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, who currently represents former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, is under investigation for fraud.

Geragos is known to have represented some notable names throughout his career in law, including Michael Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Winona Ryder, and Chris Brown. He is only the second attorney to earn “Lawyer of the Year” status in both criminal and civil arenas and was also named “One of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California” in three consecutive years by the California Law Business Magazine.

In his latest high-profile case, Geragos has been representing UFC legend Cain Velasquez, who was charged with attempted premeditated murder earlier this year after shooting at alleged child molester Harry Goularte in Santa Clara, instead hitting his 63-year-old stepfather.

But while Geragos has his work cut out trying to free the 40-year-old former mixed martial artist, he’s now got another case to worry about — and this time, he’s the one on the stand.

Velasquez’s Lawyer Moves To The Wrong Side Of The Law

Earlier this week, the State Bar of California revealed that it is investigating Geragos and Los Angeles attorney Brian Kabateck over the spending of a multimillion-dollar insurance settlement related to the Armenian Genocide.

In the announcement, the state’s regulatory authority thanked the Los Angeles Times “for its excellent reporting” on how the settlement money has allegedly been mismanaged. The publication conducted its own investigation earlier this year, during which it was suggested that parts of the money went to “pet charities” of the two attorneys, as well as the Loyola Law School, their alma mater. Both lawyers have denied any wrongdoing.

The pair’s involvement in the probe, which includes a number of other LA-based lawyers, including Tom Girardi, derives from a $17.5-million agreement with an insurance company in France. The settlement was designed to go to the descendants of the 1915-16 Armenian genocide, which was committed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire during the first world war.

In a statement to Law&Crime, Geragos claimed he was being wrongly associated with Girardi, whose previous sizable and shocking fraud emerged through the embezzlement of settlement money for families of the 189 victims of the 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

“It’s clear that it’s a political stunt to deflect attention because they apparently screwed up on Tom Girardi, so somehow they’re going to dig up a 20-year-old case” Geragos said before describing the situation as “beyond infuriating.” He continued: “I don’t know who’s running the state bar, but it’s obvious to me that they don’t have a clue.”

In another interview with Fox6, Geragos further expressed his anger, claiming that the investigation is an example of “no good deed goes unpunished.”

“This is just nothing more than a face-saving gesture (by the state bar) in almost unprecedented fashion, waiving confidentiality on an investigation that’s already been done three times over,” Geragos said. “They’re going to quickly discover that they’re going to look like fools. Frankly it’s disgusting.”

Mark Geragos
Image Credit: REUTERS/Bob Riha Jr.

This isn’t the first time Geragos has had his own trouble with the law. Back in 2019, Geragos was accused of being the co-conspirator in fraud charges against Michael Avenatti. The California attorney was investigated for extorting up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to reveal corrupt and troubling information about practises that involved college athletes.

Supporters of Cain Velasquez will no doubt be hoping that the latest investigation into Geragos doesn’t have a detrimental affect on efforts to secure the release of the former UFC champion.

What do you make of Mark Geragos’ involvement in the fraud probe?