PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain today announced that a Philadelphia attorney who struggled to pay his law firm’s expenses was indicted on fraud charges.
Donald F. Manchel, 84, of Bryn Mawr, PA, was charged with wire and mail fraud.
The indictment alleges that on multiple occasions, Manchel used settlement funds due to clients to instead pay his firm’s business expenses, including payroll and employee insurance premiums. Additionally, he used the settlement funds due to one client to pay another client. According to the indictment, Manchel made false statements and engaged in acts of deception in an effort to hide the fact that he already had spent his clients’ settlement funds, and to avoid having to issue payment to clients of the settlement funds due to them.
“Under the law, attorneys are required to keep settlement funds separate from other money,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “And when an attorney deliberately deceives his clients, he must be held accountable.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 220 years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $2.5 million fine, and a $2,000 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Grigsby.
An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed
innocent unless and until proven guilty
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Eastern District of Pennsylvania