A longtime criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore who stashed more than a million dollars in two safes in his basement pleaded guilty today in federal district court in Greenbelt in a tax evasion prosecution.
The lawyer, Stanley Needleman, was licensed to practice law in Maryland for more than three decades in state and federal court, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Needleman, who had an office in downtown Baltimore, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and to a financial structuring charge in which he made deposits in increments under $10,000 to avoid having his bank file required currency transactions reports. He was charged in a two-count information in August.
Needleman, according to the terms of his plea deal (PDF), consented to disbarment. He agreed to stop practicing law Aug. 24.
Court papers disclosed that Needleman did not use an advance fee retainer agreement. Rather, he charged a one-time “engagement fee” to represent a client whether or not the case was dismissed, the client took a plea deal or the client opted for trial.
Prosecutors said Needleman’s payments were usually in full and due before the he entered an official appearance in any given case. Cash, according to prosecutors, was the most common form of payment.