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Ex-Money Boss for Tom Girardi’s Bankrupt Law Firm Jailed on Federal Wire Fraud Charge


Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi.

The former chief financial officer for disbarred California lawyer Tom Girardi’s bankrupt law firm has been jailed on a federal wire fraud charge.

Christopher Kazuo Kamon, 49, appeared in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, on Monday on a wire fraud charge filed in the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles.

The affidavit supporting the criminal complaint is sealed, but the alleged crime occurred “on or about the date of September 16, 2020 in the county of Los Angeles in the Central District of California,” according to the complaint.

That’s before Girardi’s powerhouse plaintiff firm Girardi Keese LLP was forced into bankruptcy amid revelations of financial misconduct by Girardi that left clients in major lawsuits empty-handed as the mega lawyer and his now-estranged wife, Erika Jayne, flaunted their wealth on the reality TV show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Asked about the charge against Kamon, Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, told Law&Crime, “I cannot comment on the matter at this time.”

A bail hearing is scheduled Thursday at 11:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew J. Maddox in Baltimore, who signed Kamon’s temporary detention order on Monday. Meanwhile, Kamon is being held without bond at the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore.

He’s represented by Jessie K. Liu, partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C, who filed a notice of appearance today. She did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment from Law&Crime.

The criminal complaint was signed Saturday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Wilner in Los Angeles.

Kamon is not a licensed attorney. Instead, he’s an accountant who oversaw Girardi Keese’s finances, including the client trust accounts that the court-appointed trustee says Girardi regularly looted to pay for his extravagant lifestyle.

Jay Edelson, the former Lion Air co-counsel who first exposed Girardi, has alleged widespread misconduct within Girardi’s firm, filing a racketeering lawsuit in April that accuses firm partners David Lira, who is Girardi’s son-in-law, and Keith Griffin, of operating a criminal enterprise with Kamon and consultant George Hatcher.

The complaint said Kamon “was responsible for disappearing client money out of the firm’s trust account and funding the firm’s operating accounts.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin in Chicago, who is overseeing the Lion Air crash settlements, recently declined to sanction Lira and Griffin over the missing money but appeared to call for the type of action federal prosecutors recently took against Kamon.

“It is nearly impossible to mend such a breach of trust. The best we can do is demonstrate that the legal system Girardi besmirched has the ability to rectify its errors and bring bad actors to account,” Durkin wrote in a 14-page order. “With the hearings and settlements initiated by the Edelson firm, a step has been taken in that direction.”

Last week, the California State Bar released a summary of 205 complaints lodged against Girardi since 1982, with the chairman of the bar’s board of trustees saying the agency “could have done more” to protect the public.

(Images: Jayne photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, Girardi photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography)

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.