Commercial Fraud Litigation

Conrad & Scherer’s Commercial Fraud Litigation focuses much of its attention on preventing and detecting asset misappropriation. We focus our efforts on three distinct areas: commercial fraud prosecution, fraud prevention and multi-jurisdictional fraud, which includes fraud that crosses national boundaries. Our practice is a blend of traditional litigation, forensic and financial statement analysis, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.

  • WILLIAM R. SCHERER, JR.
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    WILLIAM R. SCHERER, JR.
    Founder & Managing Partner
    WILLIAM R. SCHERER, JR.
    EDUCATION
    • School of Law at Indiana University, Juris Doctor, 1973, magna cum laude
    • Franklin College of Indiana, Bachelor of Science, 1969
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 1973
    • Indiana Bar, 1973
    • District of Columbia Bar, 2010
    • United States District Court for the District of Colorado, 2014
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1974
    BIOGRAPHY:

    William R. Scherer co-founded the firm in 1974 with his late partner Rex Conrad. Over the past almost four decades, Mr. Scherer has grown Conrad & Scherer into one of Florida’s leading law firms and has expanded the firm’s presence with offices in New York, New York, Brevard, North Carolina, and Quito, Ecuador.

    AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® since 1987, Mr. Scherer is a seasoned trial attorney. He has litigated over 100 trials in both jury and non-jury cases before state, appellate, and federal courts. Mr. Scherer’s cases and legal accomplishments have received coverage by major television networks such as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FNN and national and local newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, South Florida Business Journal, the Daily Business Review, the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald.

    Mr. Scherer was lead counsel for victims of the infamous multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Scott Rothstein. Notably, Mr. Scherer led his complex litigation team and achieved an historic settlement returning to investors what is said to be the highest percentages of recovery for victims of a Ponzi scheme. News outlets described the settlement as a “huge victory” and a “landmark” lawsuit.

    In 2005, Mr. Scherer served as plaintiff’s counsel in a high-profile commercial lawsuit involving the sale of a health insurance company and obtained, by jury verdict, one of the largest damage awards in Broward County history.

    During the historical 2000 Presidential Election Litigation in Florida, Mr. Scherer led a team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush and personally represented the President in the Broward County recount.

    In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Scherer has also served as counsel to various government entities. From 1988 to 2005, Mr. Scherer served as General Counsel to the North Broward Hospital District, one of the largest public health care providers in the nation, with four hospitals and nine specialized treatment centers. As General Counsel for the Hospital District, he supervised teams of legal experts in healthcare and malpractice law, and was responsible for all trials and legal actions taken by or against the Hospital District.

    Mr. Scherer began his legal career as a law clerk to the Indiana Supreme Court and the Honorable Charles Fulton, Former Chief of the United States District Court for the South District of Florida.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member/“Advocate,” 1989 to present
    • Broward Workshop, Board Member, 2002 to 2012
    • Broward County Ethics Commission, 2009 to 2010
    • City of Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, Board Member, 1989 to 1996 and 2003 to 2010
    • Franklin College Board of Trustees, 2000 to 2008
    • Judicial Nominating Commission for the Seventeenth Circuit, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Martinez, Governor Bush and Governor Scott), 1987 to 1999, 2001 to 2003, 2003 to 2007 (Chair in 2006), 2011 to 2012
    • Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 1999 to 2003
    • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Interim General Counsel, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 2000
    • Florida Lawyers for Bush, Statewide Co-Chair, 1998 to 2000
    • Florida Lawyers for Bush, Broward and Palm Beach County Chair, 1998 to 2000
    • Federal Bar, Grievance Panel for the Southern District of Florida, 1995 to 1997
    • Florida Patient Compensation Fund, Board of Directors, 1992
    • Federal Bar Association, Broward County Chapter, Past President, 1982 to 1983
    Significant Matters/Cases
    • Lori Parrish, Broward County Property Appraiser v. Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, Florida, Case No.: 13-023090. Successfully obtained a writ of mandamus on behalf of Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish after the Broward County Board of Commissioners failed to comply with its statutorily mandated duty to fully fund the first quarter payment of the Property Appraiser’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget as approved by the Department of Revenue.
    • Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys and para-professionals in the representation of a diverse group of plaintiffs seeking recovery of over $225 million in investor losses resulting from a multi-billion dollar structured settlement Ponzi scheme. This nationally publicized case focused on Toronto Dominion Bank’s (TD Bank) role in facilitating this criminal enterprise asserting novel claims that the Bank willfully aided and abetted the Ponzi fraud. After months of litigation, the matter was resolved through settlement resulting in the highest percentage recovery for victims entangled in a Ponzi scheme.
    • In conjunction with the Rothstein Ponzi scheme civil litigation, Mr. Scherer served as Chairman of the Creditors’ Committee in Rothstein’s law firm’s bankruptcy proceeding from December 2009 through December 2012.
    • In 2005, Mr. Scherer co-represented a doctor and health care entrepreneur who had purchased HIP of Florida—now Vista Health Plans of Florida—from HIP of New York. Scherer filed a suit on behalf of his client against HIP of New York alleging that HIP hid financial information from his client who had purchased the company for $40 million. Following a 14 week trial, and despite HIP of New York’s countersuit for breach of contract, a jury awarded one of the largest individual verdicts in Broward Circuit Court history. That award included an award of compensatory damages for fraud and the cancellation of a multi-million dollar note to the defendant. Jurors had found liability for punitive and compensatory damages, but before they could determine an award on punitive damages, the case was settled out of court.
    • Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush during the historical 2000 vote recount and personally represented the President in the high stakes Broward County recount. Conrad & Scherer’s responsibilities as counsel to President Bush included advising the President on his legal strategy in Broward County and also acting as a key contributor in Bush’s distinguished statewide Florida legal team. In fact, President Bush has praised Conrad & Scherer’s attorneys for their important legal contributions to his success in Florida. The firm’s contribution has also been implicitly recognized in the United States Supreme Court decision of Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), where the high court freed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida’s electoral votes in the 2000 presidential election.
    • Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys in defending a client against a third-party government agency’s interference with Broward County’s public bid process, which put at risk an existing five year janitorial services contract for the Fort-Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport totaling approximately $69 million. The firm successfully asserted constitutional due process violations challenging the third-party agency’s involvement in the process and deviation from the County Code and Charter. The firm prepared to file a bid protest and to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
    • Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys defending one of the largest mega-yacht marina and shipyards in the US from being over-regulated by a local fire marshal and was able to resolve the matter favorably through the political process and without litigation. The fire marshal had attempted to regulate the shipyard’s spray painting of mega-yachts/large vessels within temporary enclosures – an industry-wide practice already regulated under OSHA. Resolution required multi-government lobbying of the Florida CFO in his capacity as the State Fire Marshal, Broward County Commission, the Broward Board of Rules and Appeals (“BORA”), the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the local Fire Prevention Bureau. If the fire marshal was successful, the impacts to the Tri-County’s multi-billion dollar marine industry would have been devastating. In addition to the government relations aspect of this matter, the firm prepared to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
    • Successfully enforced a $41 million judgment against a prominent real estate developer by attacking an offshore Nevis trust. Pursued multiple court actions in domestic and international jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands. This was one of the first instances in the U.S. where a U.S. creditor was able to successfully attack a Nevis trust. The case resulted in a settlement of over $44 million for the client.
    • Represented a municipality and prevailed at trial in a $100 million dollar lawsuit brought by a large developer against the municipality for breach of an alleged contract to develop 11 acres of Florida oceanfront property.
    Awards/Recognitions
    • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 1987
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” by Gold Coast Magazine, April 2019
    • Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”, 2006-2017, 2019
    • Listed in Super Lawyers® “Super Lawyer”, 2006 to 2018
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in Commercial Litigation, 2018 and 2019
    • Recognized as an “Ultimate CEO” by the South Florida Business Journal, 2013
    • Listed in Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, “Florida Legal Elite”, 2004, 2010 and 2014
    • Listed in VerdictSearch’s, “Top 100 Verdicts of 2005”, 2005
    • Recognized as “Most Effective Lawyer” by the Daily Business Review, 2005 and 2012
    • Profiled as a “Power Broker” by the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, 2002
    • Listed as one of “The 50 Most Powerful People in Broward County” by Gold Coast Magazine, May/June 2002
    • Profiled as a “Political Power Broker” by Gold Coast Magazine, April 2002
    Publications/Teaching & Speaking Engagements
    • C5’s 3rd Forum “Fraud, Asset Tracing and Recovery,” Miami Beach, Florida, Speaker, “Miami Vice—Unraveling the $1.2 Billion Rothstein Ponzi Scheme,” October 2012
    • American Board of Trial Advocates and the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of ABOTA “Masters In Opening Statements and Closing Arguments”, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, May 2011
    • BankAtlantic Attorney Seminar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, “Unraveling a Ponzi Scheme,” October 2010
    • Boys and Girls Club of Broward County Men’s Luncheon, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Featured Speaker, “The Ponzi in its Aftermath,” April 2010
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Directors and Officers Face Liability – Check Your D&O Insurance Now, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, April 2005 at 14.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Vital Reforms – Why Everyone Needs to Pay Attention to Proposed Medicaid Reforms, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, March 2005, at 24.
    • William R. Scherer, Jr., Medicaid Reform – A Call to Action, South Florida Hospital News, March 2005.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Editorial, Recommended Reforms Must Pass in Session, South Fla. Sun Sentinel, June 16, 2003, at 21A.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Sovereign Immunity in Indiana- Requiem 6 Ind. L. Rev. 92 (1972).
  • ERIC J. HAGER
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    ERIC J. HAGER
    Partner
    ERIC J. HAGER
    EDUCATION
    • Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2006
    • American University, Bachelor of Science, 2000
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Massachusetts Bar, 2006
    • District of Columbia Bar, 2007
    • United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 2007
    • Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2009
    • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2010
    • District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, 2013
    BIOGRAPHY:

    Eric Hager is a partner in the Firm’s Quito, Ecuador office. His practice includes transnational litigation, appeals, commercial fraud & forensic recovery, securities & financial regulatory litigation, consumer finance litigation, general civil litigation, appeals, land use litigation, securities & financial regulatory litigation and trust litigation.

    Mr. Hager’s experience in complex litigation is varied. He has played key roles in diverse matters in a number of state and federal courts throughout the country and has managed multinational teams on difficult e-discovery and other discovery projects. Mr. Hager has also led or participated in appeals in multiple state and federal courts. He has worked closely with experts on foreign law from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Mr. Hager has drafted successful requests for discovery in relation to foreign legal proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which is a statute allowing litigants to obtain discovery related to foreign legal proceedings using the assistance of U.S. courts. In addition, he provides the firm’s Latin American clients with assistance in cross-border litigation and transactions.

    Mr. Hager has experience briefing a wide range of complicated legal issues. Representative issues include choice of law, including between foreign and U.S. law; international comity, forum non conveniens, and other defenses common to transnational litigation; statutory construction of state, federal, and foreign statutes; removal from federal court and remand to state court; the intersection of state property law and federal tax law; standing and capacity to sue; issue and claim preclusion; tolling of the statute of limitations and other timeliness issues; and procedural issues associated with a variety of pre-trial motions, including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, discovery motions, and motions in limine.

    Prior to focusing on commercial litigation and appeals, Mr. Hager spent over six years primarily representing the firm’s clients seeking to hold multinational corporations accountable for human rights abuses. In that role, he took and defended depositions abroad and in the U.S., obtained a reversal on a key issue from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, briefed numerous other appeals, argued pre-trial motions before state and federal courts, and led discovery-related and other field work in remote regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

    Before joining the Firm in 2009, he practiced as a commercial litigator, primarily working on consumer financial services matters in the Washington, D.C. office of a large national firm.

    Mr. Hager is fluent in Spanish, resides in Quito, Ecuador, and has traveled extensively throughout the South American Andean region on business.

    Awards/Recognitions
    • Columbia University School of Law, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
    • Columbia University Journal of Environmental Law, Articles Editor
    • Fulbright Scholar, Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program, September 2002 to May 2003
  • RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    Partner
    RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    EDUCATION
    • University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2010
    • University of California at Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 2010
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

     

    BIOGRAPHY:

    Russell O’Brien is a Partner in the Firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and concentrates his practice on contract disputes, securities litigation, fraud (misrepresentation, inducement, transfers, aiding and abetting and conspiracy), fiduciary relationships and business torts, shareholder disputes (direct and derivative), and class action defense. He also has experience in admiralty law, including vessel acquisitions and sales, vessel refurbishment and repair, vessel charter, and foreclosing and defending against necessaries liens and first preferred ship mortgages.

    Russell is the Firm’s Administrative Partner and manages the Firm’s eDiscovery department. He regularly advises corporate clients regarding eDiscovery planning and protocols, e-Retention, and litigation concerning eDiscovery disputes.

    Russell has represented Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals in both jury and bench trials, and has wide-ranging courtroom experience in both state and federal court. Prior to joining Conrad & Scherer, Mr. O’Brien practiced at an AM 100 law firm, primarily representing financial institutions in class action litigation.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Broward County Bar Association
    • 17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Member, since 2018
    Notable Experience
    • Represented jet engine manufacturer in breach of lease claim and obtained prejudgment writ of attachment on commercial aircraft
    • Appeared before SEC for extensive attorney proffers and client interview in connection with violations of Rule 10b of the Exchange Act
    • Represented company in jury trial for breach of yacht charter management agreement and fines incurred while yacht was in French waters
    • Represented South American business and individuals in cross-border dispute, including challenges to personal jurisdiction and service of process issues under Peruvian law
    • Defended multiple insurance companies in class actions in connection with Florida’s No-Fault insurance statute, including negotiating settlement, final fairness hearings, and issues regarding notice to class members
  • PATRICK O’NEILL
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    PATRICK O’NEILL
    Associate
    PATRICK O’NEILL
    EDUCATION
    • University of Wisconsin Law School, JD, 2013
    • Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, 2008
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Wisconsin, 2014
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
    BIOGRAPHY:

    Patrick O’Neill is an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Ecuador office. He assists the firm’s U.S.-based litigation practice, and his own practice areas include securities litigation, class action litigation, general commercial litigation and appellate practice.

    Mr. O’Neill has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in various venues throughout the United States. In particular, he has helped dozens of defrauded investors recover their losses through FINRA arbitrations, brought class actions against major financial firms in state and federal courts, and represented companies of all sizes – from small businesses to multinational corporations – in all manners of litigation. His engaging personality and common-sense approach to problem solving allow him to achieve quick and favorable results for his clients.

    Prior to joining Conrad & Scherer, Mr. O’Neill worked for a mid-sized law firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his practice focused in plaintiff-side securities fraud cases.

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