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(Reuters) – The US Justice Department can tap into retirement accounts belonging to a convicted former lawyer for ex-pharma executive Martin Shkreli to help pay $10.4 million in restitution to victims of their fraud scheme, a US appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Prosecutors have authority under the federal Mandatory Victims Restitution Act to pursue garnishment of accounts belonging to the lawyer, Evan Greebel, who was convicted in 2017 on charges that included conspiracy to commit securities fraud, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
Greebel, a former partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for helping Shkreli bilk investors at his drug company Retrophin Inc. Shkreli was sentenced to seven years on related charges. Both men have been released from custody.
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In the appeal, Greebel had argued he had no unilateral right to withdraw funds from his accounts to make available to victims and that the money was shielded by a provision in federal employee retirement income laws. He also argued the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act and a 25% garnishment cap applied in his case.
Reed Brodsky of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a lawyer for Greebel, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the ruling. Greebel also could not immediately be reached.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the