Attorneys Michael Goodove, Franklin Swartz and Elizabeth Ufkes have been selected as 2017 Super Lawyers. Michael Goodove was selected as a Super Lawyer in the field of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury. Franklin Swartz was selected as a Super Lawyer in the field of White Collar Criminal Defense. Elizabeth Ufkes was selected as a Super Lawyer as a Rising Star in the field of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury. Only 5% of Virginia attorneys are chosen every year and Goodove, Swartz and Ufkes were selected based upon evaluation by other top lawyers and independent research of the candidates. Goodove, Swartz and Ufkes will be contained in the 2017 Super Lawyers Magazine as well as in the 2016 November/December issue of Hampton Roads magazine.
Partner, Jeffrey Swartz, successfully represented Virginia Beach Mayor, Will Sessoms. Following a 14 month investigation in which 5 charges were brought against Mayor Sessoms for conflict of interest, Swartz obtained a dismissal of 4 charges and a no contest plea to the remaining charge for which the Mayor received a fine which was suspended. Throughout the entire investigation, Swartz maintained as quoted in the Virginian Pilot that “Over the many years that Mr. Sessoms has worked on behalf of the City, his reputation for honesty and integrity has been beyond reproach. Mayor Sessoms never knowingly or intentionally violated the Conflict of Interest Act or any other legal obligation which he has to the citizens of Virginia Beach.” Mayor Sessoms will continue serving the citizens of Virgina Beach as Mayor.
A longtime local sports bookie will avoid prison time and forfeit more than $1 million in cash and property under a plea agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday.
Howard “Moose” Amdusky, 82, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 24.
The plea bargain is contingent on approval by U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. The judge said he will decide at sentencing whether to accept the agreement.
In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted running a sports betting operation for the past five years and that he’d been involved in bookmaking since the 1960s. The Virginian-Pilot reported in a story earlier this month that the Amdusky family’s betting operations date back to the Great Depression.
His attorney had said that Amdusky had gotten out of bookmaking but grew bored in retirement and returned to his illegal operation. In court Tuesday, Amdusky admitted he had as many as 25 bettors waging on average $300 per sports event four to five times a week over the past five years.
In exchange for his quick guilty plea in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed to a sentence of probation or a combination of probation and house arrest.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Muhr cited Amdusky’s age, ill health, cooperation in the investigation and agreement to give up his savings, a Miami condo and other property.
An investigation that began with Virginia Beach police has linked Amdusky to a widespread sports betting ring, according to court records. A Virginia Beach grand jury this month indicted an associate, Ronald B. Freedman, on a similar charge that will be handled in state court. Federal authorities, however, have seized about $500,000 in suspected gambling assets from Freedman.
The authorities also seized more than $1 million in cash from Amdusky, as well as a car, the condo and five pieces of artwork. Muhr told the court Tuesday that other assets belonging to family members will remain untouched.
Morgan questioned Amdusky at length about whether he understood the consequences of pleading guilty.
Amdusky, leaning heavily on a podium, said, “I completely understand, sir.” At one point, he asked to sit down.
Morgan said he must wait to see a pre-sentence investigation report before agreeing to the terms of the plea agreement.
Amdusky’s lawyer said his client and his family agreed to a heavy financial loss in exchange for avoiding prison.
“They really have nothing left,” said the attorney, Franklin Swartz.
Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA)
Author: MARC DAVIS, STAFF WRITER
What would you do if you suddenly found $8 million in your stock fund?
That happened recently to John and Cindy Elliott of Colonial Place. In February, a computer glitch turned 0.895 shares of an investment fund into 89,500. That’s 100,000 times its real value.
What happened next is a matter of dispute.
According to a lawsuit, the Elliotts took their new money and invested it in stocks and mutual funds. Within two months, the Elliotts had lost $400,000 and the investment company had figured out its mistake.
Now, First Union Securities Inc. wants its money back – and then some.
The securities firm, owned by the same parent company that owns First Union Bank, sued the Elliotts last week in Norfolk Circuit Court, accusing the couple of fraud.
First Union wants $2.2 million. That’s $400,000 for the lost money, plus $1.2 million in triple damages – tripled because of the alleged fraud – plus $600,000 in punitive damages.
First Union says the Elliotts knew the money wasn’t theirs, yet they misled the securities firm for weeks. John Elliott talked twice a day with a First Union broker to direct the fund’s management, the lawsuit says.
First Union declined to comment Friday. The company said it did not know how the computer error happened. “That is a question we are looking at very carefully,” said First Union spokesman Tony Matera.
And who is responsible for the error – the Elliotts or the broker? “That is an issue that has to be looked at,” Matera said.
The Elliotts insist they did nothing wrong. They blame First Union, but they declined to discuss the matter in any detail Friday. They said their attorneys advised them not to talk.
The lawyers, Michael Goodove and Franklin Swartz, also declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, here’s what happened:
John Elliott, a building contractor, opened a brokerage account at First Union in July 1999 with $10,000. It doubled in value in several months.
First Union then asked the Elliotts to transfer more money into the account, and John Elliott did. He transferred an account from Merrill Lynch to First Union in February.
After the transfer, it appeared that the Elliotts owned 89,500 shares of the Nuveen Tax Exempt Unit Investment Trust, worth about $8 million. Actually, the Elliotts owned 0.895 shares.
John Elliott then told First Union to redeem about $2.5 million of the Nuveen shares and invest it in stocks and mutual funds.
On April 4, a First Union broker noticed that the Elliotts’ account had a negative balance. First Union’s Norfolk branch asked Elliott if he really owned 89,500 shares of Nuveen, and Elliott said yes.
Finally, First Union realized the mistake. Elliott told First Union to sell his portfolio, but it didn’t cover the negative balance.
The account is still in the red for $400,000, and First Union must pay that to Nuveen, the lawsuit says.
First Union says the Elliotts intentionally hid the fact that they did not own the Nuveen shares. The lawsuit accuses the Elliotts of fraud and conspiracy.
The Elliotts have three weeks to file a reply. No hearing date is set.
Reach Marc Davis at 446-2303 or mdavis(AT)pilotonline.com
What the bank says: First Union says the Elliotts knew the $8
million wasn’t theirs, yet they misled the securities firm for
What the couple says: They insist they did nothing wrong. They blame
First Union, but declined to discuss the matter.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Virginian-Pilot
Record Number: 0005200291