A federal judge sentenced a former South Jersey lawyer to 18 years in prison for his role in a long-ranging embezzlement scheme.
Michael Kwasnik, a disbarred estate attorney formerly of Kwasnik Rodio Kanowitz & Buckley and Kwasnik Kanowitz & Associates, convinced clients to place their money into trusts, most often irrevocable family trusts for which he was trustee.
Over years, dozens of clients put $13.2 million into the trusts. Kwasnik moved all the funds into bank accounts he controlled and used it for personal expenses, operations expenses for his businesses and other financial transactions.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler also ordered Kwasnik pay a $11.7 million fine and be placed under three years of supervision following his release.
The former attorney attempted to withdraw his guilty plea to a money laundering charge earlier this week, but Kugler didn’t allow it.
Senior trial counsel Jason Richardson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Gross represented the government. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wolfe provided assistance.
Haddonfield attorney Richard Klineburger, of Klineburger & Nussey, represented Kwasnik.
The investigation was carried out under the direction of FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Driscoll, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent Michael Montanez.