A local lawyer pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of conspiring to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into a mult-million Ponzi scheme run by money manager John Farahi.
As corporate counsel and law firm partner at New Point Financial Services, David Tamman, 44, is charged with trying to conceal fraud by altering documents, lying to the SEC and removing incriminating documents from investor files.
A Santa Monica resident, Tamman is now a sole practitioner with offices in Century City.
His former partner, Farahi, 54, has pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from the alleged investment scheme that mostly targeted Persian-Americans in Southern California.
Prosecutors said more than 100 investors and banks lost at least $20 million after Farahi spent their money on his family, high-risk and speculative future options trading Ponzi payments to early New Point Financial Services clients.
When the SEC opened an investigation into New Point Financial Services in April 2009, Farahi allegedly conspired to cover up the scheme with Tamman, who was the company’s longtime securities counsel.
Tamman was charged in December with one count of conspiracy, three counts of obstruction of justice, five counts of alteration of records, and one count of being an accessory after the fact to the charged mail fraud and securities violations. If convicted on all 10 counts, Tamman could be sentenced to 190 years in federal prison.
Tamman is set to face trial Oct. 23 before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.
— Patch editors Jenna Chandler and Sara Fay and City News Service contributed to this report.