BUSINESS
01/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Marc Dreier: "Houdini Of Impersonation," May Have Stolen $380 Million

The case of high-powered Manhattan lawyer Marc Dreier keeps getting more complicated -- for him, for authorities and for people at his firm:

Dreier LLP partner Joel Chernov says in court papers that many lawyers have left the firm, rent is overdue and BlackBerry service is being terminated. He says $27 million appears to be missing from escrow accounts.

The amount that Dreier is suspected of stealing has been rising, too:

Marc Dreier, the founder of the New York law firm Dreier LLP in jail over criminal charges, is a "Houdini of impersonation" who cheated hedge funds and investors out of $380 million, a U.S. prosecutor said today.

"He is the Houdini of impersonation and false documents," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Streeter said at a hearing over Dreier's $10 million bail request today in New York. The victims of the fraud, which has gone on since 2006, are "very sophisticated investors."

Prosecutors want Dreier, 58, held in jail. They have said the lawyer, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale College, convinced two unidentified hedge funds to give him more than $100 million by claiming, falsely, that he was selling at a discount notes issued by New York developer Sheldon Solow. Dreier hasn't responded to the charges.