Who’s Cheating America: Tammy, Orlando & Braun

Uh-oh. Another lawyer in trouble.

A partner with Houston-based law firm Orlando & Braun LLP has been arrested on charges that he committed bankruptcy fraud by failing to disclose a conflict of interest in a Chapter 11 case, Texas authorities said Wednesday.

Hey, I get it. Lawyers like Calvin C. Braun, who’s been practicing for 16 years, have a lot of different clients in a lot of different matters. It can be hard to keep track of them all. So what happened exactly?

When Braun filed an application to represent Karl Stomberg, he allegedly told the bankruptcy court that he had no conflicts of interest with Stomberg or any of his creditors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Okay, fine. No conflicts. And—let me guess—it turns out he had one. Some guy on some long list somewhere. Represented him ten years ago or something, right?

According to an indictment filed on Feb. 12, while representing a man in a Chapter 11 suit, Braun allegedly concealed from the bankruptcy court that he was also representing the man’s ex-wife in a Chapter 7 suit.

His ex-wife??? That’s quite an oversight!

Okay…still, this sounds like a paperwork thing. Not a cheater! He probably didn’t even know they’d been married! Or that she was a creditor!

Tammy Stomberg filed an objection to Braun’s application in the Chapter 11 case, according to authorities, prompting Braun to admit that was representing her in her Chapter 7 suit. But in his amended application, Braun allegedly reiterated that he did not represent any of Karl Stomberg’s creditors.

What? He said that even after she filed an objection and he admitted it? What’s (allegedly) going on here?

The indictment also alleges that Tammy Stomberg’s Chapter 7 case was closed because Braun failed to file a certificate that proved she had completed a financial management course. When she paid Braun an additional $300 to reopen the case in November 2010, he allegedly failed to do so. He also failed to reopen her case when she paid him the remaining $1,258.91 in attorneys’ fees on Dec. 28, according to the indictment.

“He took the money in both instances, but never filed the motion to reopen the case, even though he was still her counsel of record, according to the allegations,” said Magidson.

Now I (allegedly) know! Cheating America! So what happens to the attorney?

For concealing his conflicts of interest, failing to perform legal work for which he was paid and making allegedly false declarations to the court, Braun faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

It’s that old chestnut: it’s not the conflicts and failing to perform legal work for which you are paid…it’s the coverup!

Ask not for whom the door knocks…it knocks (three times) for thee… and the one who knocks has a warrant for thy arrest…

Previous entries in our Who’s Cheating America? series:

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