A 12-person federal jury found Nathan (Nat) E. Hardwick IV, 53, a founding partner and the largest shareholder of Atlanta, Georgia, - based Morris Hardwick Schneider in the mid-2000s and the World Number 1 Dustin Johnson’s ex-attorney and one of the chief advisors in his golf career, guilty late last week of embezzling about $26 million from his former companies.
This is the latest episode in a series of scandals that started a couple years ago. It also airs as the grand finale to a massive scandal that destroyed a prominent real estate firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider, which left about 900 employees jobless.
Dustin Johnson once claimed in a 2014 lawsuit that the firm Morris Hardwick Schneider, when Nat was still a managing partner, had conspired to scam him of $3,000,000 with a fabricated capital investment project.
That $3 million start-up capital was deceptively used to pay personal debts incurred by Hardwick’s lavish lifestyle.
However, Nat testified that he thought the firm’s funds he was spending were legitimately owed to him. Yet, withdrawals were being made from the firm’s escrow accounts held in trust for the firm’s clients.
The jury convicted Hardwick on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.
Hardwick advised Johnson on financial decisions earlier in his pro golf career. He ultimately changed his suit to make it seem as though Hardwick had been a “pawn” of two other business partners, the Wittstadts, to scam him of the $3 million. Hardwick’s firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2015. The firm also reached a settlement for more than $2 million with Johnson thereafter.
U.S. Attorney Byung “B.J.” Pak had harsh words for Hardwick, according to CBS 46.
“Hardwick was motivated by unadulterated deceit and greed when he blatantly violated the trust placed in him by embezzling millions of dollars from his clients and partners,” he said. “The extravagant lifestyle that Hardwick enjoyed at the expense of others will now be traded for a time in prison.”
Hardwick was taken into custody after the verdict. He and his accomplice Asha R. Maurya will be sentenced at a later date.
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