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Actually, a lot to lose

There’s never an actual shortage of news about our profession’s bad actors but recent news features two really criminal lawyers, or soon to be ex-lawyers. And Diane Kroupa.

Conspicuous consumption

Former Chief Judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, Kroupa is on her way to prison for tax fraud. So is her husband, Robert Fackler, who received a shorter sentence. Kroupa, 61, was sentenced to 34 months and Fackler, 63, was sentenced to 24 months. They must pay $457,104 in joint restitution.

Their fraud consisted of phony “business” expense deductions and other false claims, such as forgetting about $44,520 in income from a sale of land. They also deducted rent and utilities for a Maryland home; utilities, upkeep and renovation expenses of a Minnesota home; Pilates classes; spa and massage fees; jewelry and personal clothing; wine club fees; Chinese language tutoring; music lessons; personal computers; and expenses for vacations to Alaska, Australia, the Bahamas, China, England, Greece, Hawaii, Mexico and Thailand.

The long con

Moving on, the aptly named Eric Conn is featured in the June 29 edition of Minnesota Lawyer. Conn, who ran a $600 million security fraud, has fled the country using a fake passport and the help of individuals outside the U.S. with whom he said he has “alliances.” But with an apparent penchant for publicity, the Kentucky lawyer has emailed the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper to brag, er, explain what’s going on and say that he has to work for a living, having run through the presumably stolen money he once had stashed overseas.

Making a stand for millennials

Then there’s the truly remarkable Michael Potere who lost his job at Dentons law firm in Los Angeles and reacted by attempting to extort $210,000 (and, weirdly, a piece of artwork) from the firm by providing Above the Law with sensitive documents he downloaded from a partner’s email. The 32-year old seemed to think he was invulnerable to consequences, such as being arrested, and also that he was making a courageous stand for his generation. Above the Law reported: “‘I have nothing to lose, it’s already been taken,’ he told some of the firm’s partners during a [meeting apparently recorded by partners and the FBI]. ‘It’s already gone. So, and that’s just like what’s happening to me and my friends professionally all the time. And everyone gets away with it all the time.’”

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