MARK TOWLE'S ATTORNEYS RAIDED BY THE FBI = CROOKS DEFENDING CROOKS
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MARK TOWLE'S ATTORNEYS RAIDED BY THE FBI =... Expand / Collapse
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Posted 7/8/2017 8:59:12 PM


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The Attorney Firm in Martinsburg WV that defended Mark Towle who's attorney was reprimanded for Behavior unbecoming of an Attorney has been shut down and is being sued by an employee and under investigation by the FBI.

BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! THE FIRM HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN. "CROOKS DEFENDING CROOKS!!!"

Former employee claims Martinsburg law firm bilked clients
by Chris Dickerson | Feb. 1, 2016, 1:10pm

CHARLESTON – A Martinsburg law office that was raided by the FBI in November now is being named a defendant in a federal lawsuit by a former employee who claims the firm overbilled clients.

Martin & Seibert LC was named in a lawsuit by Christine Blanda, a former employee who claims she is the one of the professionals who brought alleged mail and wire fraud to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The complaint was filed Jan. 28 in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Firm shareholders Walter M. Jones III, Geoffrey A. Haddad, Michael M. Stevens, Susan R. Snowden and E. Kay Fuller also are named as defendants, as well as Chief Operating Officer Nikki Moore Gress.

Blanda says she worked at the firm from 2005 to 2015 as an accounts receivable clerk. As part of that job, she says she processed all of the billings of the firm.

On Jan. 26, 2015, Blanda says she was fired because she complained to Gress, her supervisor, about “excessive and unjustified billings to publicly traded companies” and “was cooperating with other professionals” on the FBI investigation.

On Nov. 17, the FBI executed a search warrant on the firm’s Martinsburg office.

When the raid occurred, the firm issued a statement saying the FBI “aggressively seized property and detained personnel from the firm’s headquarters” after alleged threats were made on social media by former employees.

“While an action of this magnitude comes as a surprise to the firm, we were fully aware of current threats and claims against the firm by former, disgruntled employees,” the statement read. “Over the last twelve months, several attempts were made via social media to defame the character and business practices of Martin & Seibert, L.C.”

The firm said a larger attack then was coordinated.

“Martin & Seibert, L.C. remains steadfast to our most valuable asset, our employees, whom unfortunately are the most affected by this unfortunate event,” the statement read. “We are, and will continue to fully cooperate with the FBI as the investigation ensues and are confident we will rise above these allegations and return our focus back to our clients.”

In her federal complaint, Blanda says the defendants “continued to retaliate and threaten” her, also telling current employees that the firm and others “were responsible for initiating the federal investigation and that the plan of the defendants was ‘to mount a campaign to destroy them.’”

She says the threats amounted to threatening a federal witness.

Blanda seeks compensatory damages of reinstatement with the same seniority status she would have had, two times the amount of back pay with interest and compensation for any special damages such as court costs, attorney fees and witness fees. She also seeks punitive damages for the threatening of a federal witness. She also seeks compensatory and punitive damages for emotional distress, annoyance, aggravation and inconvenience.

She is being represented by Richard Neely, Michael Callaghan and Joshua R. Martin of the Charleston law firm of Neely & Callaghan.

A representative for Martin & Seibert did not return calls seeking comment, and Callaghan declined further comment.

U.S. District Court case number 2:16-cv-00957

YOU CAN SEE THE ARTICLES HERE!

http://wvrecord.com/stories/510660972-former-employee-claims-martinsburg-law-firm-bilked-clients

http://www.journal-news.net/news/local-news/2016/11/much-uncertainty-looms-as-lawsuit-continues-against-martin-seibert/


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Scott
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www.scottlee.org
Post #159100
Posted 7/8/2017 9:20:49 PM


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Martin & Seibert law firm set to close Saturday
Matthew Umstead Dec 29, 2016 (4)
Law firm to close
Buy Now
Martin & Seibert L.C., a general-practice law firm in Martinsburg that dates back to 1908, is winding down business and will be closing Saturday.
Matthew Umstead/Staff Writer
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martin & Seibert L.C., a general-practice law firm in Martinsburg that dates back to 1908, is winding down business and will be closing Saturday.

"I can confirm that, regrettably, the firm is dissolving at the end of 2016," Morgantown, W.Va., attorney Richard M. "Rick" Wallace said in an email Thursday.

The firm's office in Charleston, W.Va., also is closing, Wallace said.

Nikki Gress, the firm's chief operating officer, deferred inquiry regarding the firm's status to Wallace on Thursday.

The move comes a little more than a year after FBI agents searched the firm's Martinsburg offices at 1453 Winchester Ave.

No criminal charges have been filed, and Wallace, who is representing the law firm in a civil lawsuit, indicated that Martin & Seibert's business was damaged significantly by a former employee who claimed she was fired after reporting alleged wrongdoing.

"It's reprehensible that the malicious and unfounded actions of a disgruntled former employee can have such a deleterious impact on a well-respected firm and the livelihoods of hundreds of individuals," Wallace said.

On Nov. 17, 2015, Martin & Seibert said in a statement that FBI agents "aggressively seized property and detained personnel" at the law firm's headquarters on Winchester Avenue, but noted that it was cooperating fully with the government's investigation.

On Jan. 28, Martin & Seibert, along with shareholders and Gress, were named as defendants in a federal lawsuit by former employee Christine Blanda.

Blanda claimed she is one of the professionals who brought alleged mail and wire fraud to the FBI's attention.

The law firm has denied the allegations and countered that Blanda was discharged "solely because she engaged in highly unprofessional conduct which violated Martin & Seibert policy and potentially federal and/or state law by misappropriating confidential, proprietary and trade secret information of Martin & Seibert," according to court records.

The firm filed a counterclaim against Blanda, claiming she knowingly provided false statements to public officials, including FBI agents, that alleged improper billing practices by the law firm, records said.

Blanda has denied the allegations of the counterclaim, and her attorneys told the court in a joint report filed in September that the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the government's investigation advised it would not be completed "anytime in the foreseeable future" due to a lack of adequate staffing.

"We know nothing different," attorney Michael O. Callaghan said Thursday when asked about the status of the case.

Wallace told the court in the September joint report that more than 500,000 pages of documents had been seized by the government, records said.

Ashley Lough, spokesperson for U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II's office, said the government was unable to comment Thursday about the status of the probe.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston, W.Va., the civil case is assigned to District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr.

Martin & Seibert, said to be one of the state's oldest law firms, was founded by Clarence E. Martin and Cleveland M. Seibert.

Martin served as president of the American Bar Association in the 1930s.


Batmmannn
Scott
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Post #159101
Posted 7/8/2017 11:17:59 PM


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GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED!

Martin & Seibert to close its doors today

LOCAL NEWS
DEC 31, 2016



MARTINSBURG — Historic law firm Martin & Seibert will close today, it has been revealed.

The embattled 108-year-old law firm is one of the oldest in the state and the closing appears to be related to a former employee’s whistleblowing lawsuit and subsequent FBI raid.

Calls to the lawyer representing the firm were not immediately returned Friday, but in a telephone call in November, attorney Richard Wallace said the former employee’s actions were regrettable.

“What I can say is that it’s regrettable that malicious actions from a disgruntled former employee could have such a negative act on many hardworking people in the area,” Wallace said in November.

While the former employee may have a hand in the firm’s closing, the alleged illegal actions of the firm itself may also played a part.

Martin & Seibert’s legal woes began in November 2015, when the firm was “raided” by the FBI after a former employee alleged improper business practices and retaliatory firing.

Christine Blanda, a former accounts receivable clerk for the firm, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia claiming she was fired in retaliation for complaining about “excessive and unjustified billings to publicly traded companies” to her supervisor.

She also claimed the firm has tried to intimidate her for cooperating with federal authorities, the lawsuit alleges.

In an affidavit penned by Walter M. Jones III, a partner at the firm, it is claimed that during the “raid” by the FBI, no one associated with the firm had an opportunity to see which documents and files were removed from its Winchester Avenue office.

Blanda is bringing her suit under federal “whistleblower” protections, not criminal mail-wire fraud statutes. Since the U.S. Attorney Office of the District of Northern West Virginia has not asked for a delay due to the investigation, the civil case would not affect any possible criminal case, according to her motion.

In a separate filing, the firm has accused Blanda of falsely reporting alleged wire fraud practices to the FBI. It also asserts she was fired due to her “violat(ing) Martin & Seibert policy and potentially federal and/or state law by misappropriating confidential, proprietary and trade secret information.”

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Staff writer Matt Dellinger can be reached at 304-263-3381, ext. 128, or on Twitter @MattDellJN.


Batmmannn
Scott
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