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Disbarred attorney shielded multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme

A Southern California attorney convicted of obstructing investigations into a massive Ponzi scheme has been stripped of his law license.

DAVID MARSH TAMMAN [#175916], 49, of West Hollywood, was summarily disbarred Dec. 29, 2016, as a result of his conviction for charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice; aiding and abetting the destruction, alteration or falsification of records; securities fraud; and aiding and abetting witness tampering. The charges were felonies, some of which involved moral turpitude, meeting the criteria for summary disbarment.

A former partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, Tamman was sentenced to seven years in federal custody on Sept. 23, 2013 and ordered to pay $2,500. In sentencing him, United States District Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez noted that Tamman both lied to the Securities and Exchange Commission and during his trial, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Tamman served as outside counsel for Newport Investment Services, an investment company belonging to John Farahi, who ran the $22 million Ponzi scheme. Among other things, Tamman altered documents which led the National Association of Securities Dealers to close an investigation in 2004 “thereby enabling Farahi to continue bilking victims for another five years,” the release said.

In addition, facing an investigation being conducted by the SEC in 2009, Tamman and Farahi “altered and created securities offering documents and promissory notes,” and lied to both the agency and Tamman’s colleagues.

In addition, Tamman obstructed a grand jury’s investigation of his crimes, which included lying to investigators, giving false testimony at his trial and lying to a probation officer after he was found guilty, the release said.

Tamman has been ineligible to practice law since his conviction. Disbarment proceedings were initiated last year, after the conviction became final.