Former Baton Rouge Lawyer Sentenced To Prison
BATON ROUGE, LA—The United States Attorney’s Office announced that today JAMES M. BERNHARD, III, age 37, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced by United States District Court Chief Judge Brian A. Jackson to twenty-seven (27) months of imprisonment. BERNHARD was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. BERNARD will also be required to serve a two-year term of supervised release following his release from prison.
BERNHARD had previously pled guilty to wire fraud involving a scheme to defraud his employer, a Baton Rouge law firm, from December of 2010 to December of 2011. In connection with his guilty plea, BERNHARD admitted that, while employed as an attorney at the firm, he used his authority over the firm’s trust account to fraudulently transfer money to third parties under his control and to others to whom the defendant owed money. For instance, on or about January 7, 2011, BERNHARD caused $93,750 to be wired from the law firm’s trust account at Fidelity Bank to an account that the defendant controlled at Iberia Bank. In total, the defendant obtained approximately $453,123 from his fraudulent scheme.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens.