Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer convicted in financial scheme

A federal judge Friday convicted Paul Wommer, a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, on three charges of unlawfully structuring more than $138,000 in financial transactions.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro also found Wommer guilty of one count of evading $13,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service in 2007 and one count of filing a false tax return in 2010.

Navarro allowed Wommer, 60, to remain free pending an Aug. 1 sentencing.

Wommer, who testified in his own defense during a three-day bench trial, spent five months as a prosecutor in the Nevada attorney general’s office before leaving in May 2010. He also served as a federal and county prosecutor.

The case involved a series of 15 bank transactions Wommer conducted in June and July 2010 with the help of his part-time legal assistant that were all under the $10,000 federal cash reporting limit designed to combat money laundering.

Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Wommer withdrew cash from his personal and business bank accounts in amounts under $10,000 and then instructed his assistant to deposit the money into her personal account.

Wommer did not deny the unlawful conduct on the witness stand but attributed his actions to serious head injuries he suffered in a 1991 skiing accident.

Navarro did not buy his “diminished capacity defense,” saying from the bench that the former prosecutor understood the law and showed criminal intent.

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas.

Nevada State Bar counsel David Clark said Wommer faces immediate suspension of his law license once the Nevada State Bar is notified of his conviction.

The state Supreme Court then will send the matter back to the State Bar for further disciplinary proceedings, Clark said.

Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.