I’ve been playing the waiting games with Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney Randolph Goldberg.
Since the spring of 2010, I’ve waited for the U.S. attorney’s office to act on a bankruptcy judge’s recommendation that attorney Randolph Goldberg should be investigated criminally in connection with possible forgery when he represented Alfonso and Editha Pagaduan.
Nothing came of it.
At the same time he sanctioned Goldberg and recommended the criminal investigation, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bruce Markell also said the State Bar of Nevada should investigate Goldberg for possible misconduct, including co-mingling his clients’ money with his own.
Nearly two years later, the State Bar hasn’t made a decision on the 10 complaints, including Markell’s, which were rolled into one. Recently, however, there were two days of hearings on the Goldberg complaint.
Example three of the waiting games: In March, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mike Nakagawa said he would decide in two weeks whether Goldberg deserved another sanction in the Susan Goldman case.
After six months, Nakagawa hasn’t ruled one way or another.
Since what seems like forever, I’ve endured Goldberg’s television commercials with gritted teeth knowing that so many uninformed people choose attorneys based on TV advertising. He has been raking in the bucks despite two brutal public sanctions from Markell for his poor lawyering and despite the complaint dragging through the State Bar.
Then on Wednesday, an action I didn’t expect was taken. The wait was over.
A federal grand jury indicted the Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney. Not in connection with the forgery allegations submitted by Markell. Not in connection any professional misconduct in representing clients who turned to him in desperation at the worst time of their lives.
He was indicted on tax evasion charges for the tax years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He was also charged with a crime I had never heard of: structuring financial transactions (which involves hiding income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service).
The feds believe he should forfeit $1.1 million in assets if he’s convicted.
The indictment alleges he concealed income by depositing money in sums smaller than $10,000. That way the bank wouldn’t have to report currency transactions of $10,000 or more.
Goldberg is innocent until proven guilty, and attorney David Chesnoff is no slouch as a defense attorney. But this is a case with a paper trail, and Goldberg needs to have a real good explanation.
Ignorance of tax laws on Goldberg’s part isn’t going to be a valid defense because he has a master’s in tax law and practices before the U.S. Tax Court. He has practiced in Las Vegas since 1996.
The indictment alleged Goldberg had two accounts at Bank of America. One carried the name Randoph H. Goldberg, Esq., which he used as his business account. The other was Law Office of Randolph H. Goldberg, and he used that as his personal account, which seems backwards.
Goldberg is accused of deducting business expenses from both accounts and only reporting income to the one he claimed as a business account.
My first clue something wasn’t right with Goldberg was when Markell sanctioned him the first time in 2009, writing that Goldberg “failed to meet the standards of a competent attorney” in the bankruptcy of Raymond Sanford.
Then Markell sanctioned him a second time in the Pagaduan case.
“Goldberg seemed more interested in churning volume and moving on to the next fee than actually understanding what (the Pagaduans) were hoping to accomplish,” Markell wrote.
But the power of television advertising outweighs a few reports in the news media, and the indictment won’t prevent him from practicing or advertising. He still will be looking into the camera and promising, “I’ll eliminate your problems and save your home. That’s what I do.”
That’s not all Goldberg does, if the indictment against him is true.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at 702-383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/Morrison.