A Century City attorney was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison for obstructing two investigations into a $22 million Ponzi scheme that targeted Iranian-Americans in the Southland.
David Tamman, 46, of Santa Monica, was convicted last year on 10 federal
counts, including conspiring to obstruct justice, altering documents, being
an accessory after the fact to co-defendant John Farahi's mail and securities
fraud crimes, and aiding and abetting Farahi's false testimony before the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
Farahi, a former Beverly Hills money manager, used his Persian-language radio show to attract investors and admitted swindling them out of at least $7 million through the Ponzi scheme. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in March.
U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez said that, apart from the magnitude of the fraud Tamman helped cover up, the sentence was warranted by the fact that the defendant lied to the SEC, and then compounded the matter by lying during his non-jury trial.
Gutierrez said Tamman's conduct was particularly troubling because of his profession. Tamman, formerly a partner at Nixon Peabody, one of the world's largest firms, was suspended from practicing law earlier this year by the California State Bar, prosecutors said.
Tamman served as corporate counsel for Farahi's New Point Financial Services investment firm.
"Despite being a highly educated lawyer ... Tamman has displayed a remarkable disrespect for the law and the legal system over the course of almost a decade," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing brief.
The document states that Tamman altered documents that caused the National Association of Securities Dealers -- now known as FINRA -- to close an investigation in 2004, thereby enabling Farahi to continue conning victims for another five years.
Prosecutors said that in 2009, in response to an investigation being conducted by the SEC, Tamman and Farahi altered and created securities offering documents and promissory notes, as well as lied to the SEC and Tamman's colleagues.
Two years later, Tamman began obstructing the federal grand jury's investigation of his crimes, which included lying to federal investigators, giving false testimony at his trial last November and lying to a probation officer who was preparing a pre-sentence report after he was found guilty, according to the sentencing memo.
When he pleaded guilty, Farahi admitted that he engaged in a long- running scheme that defrauded victims by using their funds for a range of unauthorized purposes, including paying off prior investors and subsidizing options futures trading.
Both men were charged in 2011 in a 41-count indictment accusing Farahi of making false statements to Troubled Asset Relief Program-funded banks and duping investors into believing that their money would be used to purchase corporate bonds backed by the TARP program.