San Diego Attorney|Guilty of Two Felonies

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – San Diego attorney James Warner pleaded guilty Tuesday to two federal felonies: laundering $100,000 of a client’s drug money and tampering with a potential witness in the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     Warner, 65, a member of the California Bar since 1974, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and attempted harassment of a witness, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement after the Tuesday hearing.
     Warner faces up to 23 years in federal prison at his Oct. 16 sentencing. Bond was set at $5,000 Tuesday, which was Warner’s first court appearance in the case.
     Citing the plea agreement filed Tuesday, prosecutors said that one of Warner’s clients told the attorney that federal agents missed $100,000 in cash when they searched the client’s home and business in May 2012. Warner agreed to take, and conceal, the money – which he knew was drug money – and invested it in an offshore business, prosecutors said in the statement. He then structured transfers into his personal and business bank accounts to further conceal it, prosecutors said.
     Structuring is breaking up cash deposits into less than $10,000 to avoid bank reporting requirements.
     “According to the plea agreement, Warner created a fictitious corporation named Grenadine Development Inc., and opened a bank account in the name of Grenadine Development Inc., to issue checks to the drug trafficker,” according to the U.S. attorney.
     “According to his plea agreement, Warner also admitted that he tampered with a witness when he told his client, a drug trafficker identified as ‘T.K.,’ that he should pay legal fees of another drug trafficker to Warner, to prevent him from cooperating against T.K. Warner further told T.K. that if a court-appointed taxpayer-funded lawyer would ‘squeeze’ the other trafficker to cooperate against T.K.,” prosecutors said in the statement.
     Federal agents executed search warrants at Warner’s home and office on Sept. 11, 2013. Warner agreed to forfeit the $100,000 he laundered, plus another $200,080 in cash that was seized from his law office, and $34,528 seized from his personal and business accounts.
     Warner specialized in criminal defense.

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