A New York federal judge on Wednesday ordered the arrest of a Bronx woman accused of lying about her legal and criminal background in order to serve as a juror in a tax-shelter fraud trial last year.
The juror failed to appear in court Wednesday morning after she was served with a subpoena to give testimony. The juror was taken into custody and brought to Manhattan federal court, where she is expected to give testimony later Wednesday.
Lawyers for Paul Daugerdas, the former head of Jenkens & Gilchrist's Chicago office and Denis Field, accounting firm BDO Seidman's former chief executive, have asked U.S. District Judge William Pauley III to order a new trial, based in part on the juror's alleged misconduct.
The judge is conducting a two-day evidentiary hearing to determine whether the juror lied about her background and if any of the defense lawyers knew about this possibility during the trial.
Daugerdas, Field and two others were convicted of criminal charges in May, following a 10-week trial and almost two weeks of deliberations by jurors. Jurors had to restart their deliberations at one point after a sick juror was replaced by an alternate.
In court papers, the defense claimed in part that the juror failed to tell the court during voir dire, or questioning of potential jurors, that she held a law degree and was suspended from the practice of law since 2007.
They also claim she failed to tell the court she had been arrested on several occasions, is on criminal probation for two misdemeanor shoplifting charges and is facing an outstanding warrant for her arrest on a disorderly conduct charge.
The issues were raised following a letter the woman wrote to prosecutors after the trial, praising their work on the case and discussing some of the jury deliberations.
Daugerdas was a successful tax lawyer, once earning millions annually selling tax-avoidance strategies to wealthy clients. Prosecutors had alleged Daugerdas received more than $95 million in income from the sale of the improper tax shelters.
But Daugerdas's business began to unravel after the Internal Revenue Service started to crack down in the early 2000s on alleged abuses in the booming tax-shelter industry, which had been fueled by fortunes made in the bull market of the late 1990s.
Civil suits by clients of Daugerdas contributed to the downfall of his former law firm, Jenkens & Gilchrist, which once numbered 600 lawyers and ranked among the biggest and most successful firms based in Texas.
Jenkens & Gilchrist closed its doors in 2007 after the firm entered into a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors and agreed to pay a $76 million IRS penalty.