Stearns deal confirmed in Wednesday court hearing

This article was published in the Thursday edition of the Austin American-Statesman The largest group of investors involved in convicted con man Brian Russell Stearns’ investment scheme will get back 73 cents on the dollar in a settlement with the Texas law firm that represented Stearns, a judge said Wednesday. The $8.5 million agreement is between the Locke Liddell and Sapp law firm and 436 of Stearns’ investors, mainly from Brady and surrounding Hill Country communities. The investors agreed to pay their lawyers 35 percent of the settlement amount’almost $3 million. Brady residents invested about $4.5 million with Stearns. Stearns, 30, was arrested in October 1999 by federal agents who said he was operating a Ponzi scheme that swindled investors worldwide out of $50 million. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence. In their lawsuit, the investors alleged that Locke Liddell and Sapp lawyers helped Stearns orchestrate his scam in part by allowing him to funnel investors’ money through the law firm’s bank accounts and into Stearns’ personal checking account. Locke Liddell and Sapp admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

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