Attorney charged with embezzling $2 million

A Twin Cities attorney was charged in federal court Wednesday with embezzling $2 million from his clients and the firm.

Michael Scott Margulies, 56, faces one count of wire fraud for allegedly embezzling the money through forged checks and false invoices and expense reports while working as a partner at the Lindquist & Vennum law firm. The alleged embezzlement took place between 1994 and 2010, according to federal prosecutors.

Margulies was fired after the law firm discovered the embezzlement earlier this year. The allegations were made public last month, but federal prosecutors did not formally charge Margulies until Wednesday.

According to court documents, Margulies wired $58,000 from a client's bank account into his own bank account in April 2009.

Margulies' ethics lawyer, Eric Cooperstein, said Marguiles agreed to be disbarred and has made clear that no one else was involved. The state Supreme Court has since disbarred Marguiles.

Joe Friedberg, Margulies' defense attorney, declined to comment on the charges.

In a statement, the Lindquist & Vennum law firm said the firm's own internal investigation revealed Margulies misappropriated funds from "a limited number of clients and from the firm."

"Lindquist & Vennum continues to cooperate with the federal authorities. Due to the pending criminal charges, and the continuing investigation of Mr. Margulies by federal authorities and the firm, Lindquist & Vennum is not at liberty to discuss additional details of his conduct at this time."

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