Bankruptcy Trustee Seeks $100M from Lawyer

LOS ANGELES (CN) – The lawyer for bankrupt human resources company Axium International helped the company owners loot $100 million from its bank accounts, the bankruptcy trustee claims in Superior Court. Attorney Louis Dienes breached his duty to Axium shareholders, Chapter 7 Trustee Howard Ehrenberg says.

     Ehrenburg say Dienes created backdated promissory notes to hide assets for Axium owners John Visconti and Ronald Garber. On one occasion, Dienes created a fraudulent promissory note to legitimate the money Visconti took from the company to remodel five of his properties, the lawsuit states. Dienes made the promissory note “more favorable” to the company to hide Visconti’s culpability, Ehrenberg claims.
     The trustee says Dienes manufactured an “admitted sham lawsuit” to protect Visconti’s assets from his wife during their divorce proceedings. Dienes allegedly had Axium sue Visconti in order to “deceive a court as to the nature of Visconti’s ownership in a Rolls Royce.”
     Dienes allegedly represented Visconti though his client Axium had filed the lawsuit. Visconti also is accused of using Axium’s money to pay for Dienes’ representation during his divorce.
     Dienes installed Garber’s wife as a puppet owner of an Axium subsidiary to qualify the company for opportunities as a minority- or woman-owned business, Ehrenberg claims. And Dienes allegedly created secret documents to maintain Axium’s ownership of the company.
     The company’s director and third part-owner, Ruben Rodriguez, knew nothing of his partners’ embezzlement, the lawsuit states.
     Visconti and Garber allegedly tempted Dienes by dangling the prospect of making him Axium’s general counsel – a position with a multi-million dollar salary, the lawsuit states. Dienes is an associate at Glaser Weil.
     Before it collapsed, Axium provided payroll and staffing services to companies in the entertainment industry.
     “Mr. Dienes concealed his fraud from Axium, including its innocent director, harming Axium,” the complaint states. “By this action, Axium seeks to recover for that harm of not less than $100 million.”
     The bankruptcy trustee is represented by Steven Thomas and Emily Alexander of Venice.

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