Nathan Hardwick was a real estate attorney in Georgia who managed the “closing side” of the real estate law firm practice. The law firm sold part of its foreclosure operation to a private equity group for 14 to 15 million dollars but within a few years Hardwick’s portion of the money was gone from misfortune that included the 2008 financial crises, gambling, and a bad divorce. He owed millions in loans he could not repay. To satisfy his creditors Hardwick turned to conduct that led to federal criminal charges.
To repay a bank and casino debt, Hardwick lied to a bank in a line-of-credit application claiming that there were no lawsuits pending against him. Even worse, he siphoned off about $26 million from the law firm including $19 million from the law firms’ trust account, while hiding the withdrawal from other shareholders. To accomplish this theft, he relied heavily on Asha Maurya, who Hardwick promoted by to the position of CFO giving her authority over the trust accounts. At Hardwick’s request she repeatedly sent money from the law firm to Hardwick or his creditors and significantly underreported the law firm distributions to Hardwick. Eventually the scheme unraveled when an internal audit revealed an altered bank account. Both were indicted by a grand jury of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to a federally insured financial institution. Maurya pled guilty. Hardwick went to trial and was convicted. Hardwick received a 180-month sentence and Maurya received an 84-month sentence.