Lawyer accused of faking judges’ signatures admits to wire fraud

(Reuters) – A former longtime California law firm attorney has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after allegedly lying to clients about winning cases, creating fake court documents and forging judges’ signatures, according to court papers made public Thursday.

Los Angeles prosecutors submitted a 34-page plea agreement with Matthew Charles Elstein, 51, who previously practiced at law firms Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, Selman Breitman and Tressler.

In June 2016, Elstein told a client he won a $52 million default judgment for a lawsuit that he never filed, prosecutors said. They said he created a fake court order, forged a judge’s signature, claimed the lawsuit was under seal, and created a fake settlement agreement between the client and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

Elstein is set to be arraigned on Oct. 28. He faces up to a 20-year prison sentence, prosecutors said.

Neither Elstein nor his attorney, Sacramento-based white collar criminal defense lawyer Candice Fields, responded to requests for comment.

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Source: Reuters