NY lawyer charged with helping con man in Maxim magazine bid

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 8:07 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer accused of conspiring to help a con man in a ruse to borrow millions of dollars in a failed bid to buy Maxim magazine was arrested on Wednesday.

Harvey Newkirk was freed on $500,000 bail after appearing in Manhattan federal court.

He was charged with wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in a criminal complaint accusing him of lying about assets and collateral as he helped Calvin Darden Jr. use the name of his successful father, a former UPS executive, to persuade two lenders to provide a total of $8 million. Prosecutors say the pair then tried to persuade a third investor to contribute $20 million.

Court papers released Wednesday did not identify Darden, the financial institutions or the magazine, but details of the case emerged at previous court proceedings and in court filings.

In November, Darden pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors that recommends a sentence of between 8 and 10 years in prison. He awaits sentencing.

At his plea, Darden said he sent emails containing forged documents and "made false representations about my father's assets in order to convince others to use money towards the purchase of Maxim magazine."

Darden's father, Cal Darden, is a retired executive for Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. He sits on the boards of several major companies.

Newkirk's lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, called her client a "brilliant and well-respected attorney with an unblemished reputation."

"He has done nothing wrong, and we look forward to challenging the government's overreaching and baseless allegations," she said.

In a criminal complaint signed by U.S. Secret Service agent Paul B. Deal, the government accused Newkirk of using Darden's father's name in late 2013 to persuade financial institutions to invest in a plan to buy Maxim, a men's lifestyle magazine noted for its photos of scantily clad female models, singers and actresses. The government said the conspiracy stretched from August 2013 through February 2014.

The agent wrote in the complaint that Darden's father said he was never Newkirk's client despite Newkirk's claim to the contrary during an interview with the Secret Service in January and multiple representations made by Newkirk to various lenders as he tried to secure the magazine deal. The agent said Newkirk conceded in an interview two weeks ago that Darden's father was not his client.

Nearly a decade ago, Darden pleaded guilty in a scam that cost investors millions of dollars and was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $6 million.