News Alert: Crawford Lewis firm sues 'Tres' Bernhard
The Crawford Lewis law firm has filed what could amount to a multimillion dollar lawsuit against James M. "Tres" Bernhard, alleging the local attorney defrauded the firm, embezzled funds, and committed theft, forgery and malpractice, as well other illegal activities. The suit, filed late last week in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, claims that Bernhard--who set up shop within the offices of Crawford Lewis in 2007, promising to bring the firm business as an expert in tax credits--misappropriated or misdirected money or rights to tax credits from third parties using his position at the firm and the use of firm assets. It also alleges that he sold invalid movie tax credits, paid off personal debts through the misappropriation of client and firm funds and defrauded other third parties through various means and methods…"not all of which are currently known but remain under investigation." The alleged activity occurred between 2007 and March of this year, when it was discovered by other attorneys at Crawford Lewis. Bernhard, who is the son of The Shaw Group's founder and CEO Jim Bernhard, is currently at an undisclosed medical facility in Dallas, according to the suit. His local attorney, former U.S. Attorney David Dugas, declined to comment except to say that, “We just got (the suit) in so we are looking at it and evaluating the allegations.” Crawford Lewis attorney Mary Olive Pierson, who filed the suit, tells Daily Report that while the charges were made in state court all the allegations contained in the suit and more have been referred to federal law enforcement. Read the lawsuit here (PDF).—Stephanie Riegel
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