Lawyer gets home detention for helping client launder drug money

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James Warner
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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego defense attorney who laundered $100,000 of a client’s drug proceeds and tampered with a potential witness in the case was sentenced Monday to probation, a year of home detention and 2,000 hours of community service.

James Warner, a member of the California Bar since 1974, pleaded guilty July 15 to a pair of felony offenses — conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and attempted harassment of a witness.

At a hearing Monday before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller, Warner, 66, forfeited his law license and agreed to a criminal forfeiture of $100,000, the sum that was laundered through a bank account he set up under a fictitious corporation named Grenadine Development Inc.

The defendant also agreed to forfeit about $200,080 in cash seized from his law office when it was searched, along with more than $34,500 seized from his personal and business accounts.

Authorities said Warner tampered with a witness when he told his client, a drug trafficker named T.K., that he should pay another man’s legal fees to prevent him from cooperating against T.K.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego recused from the case, and Warner’s prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in central California.

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