Dustin Johnson’s former attorney is likely facing 15 years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of embezzling $26 million from the real estate closing firm bearing his name.
Nathan Hardwick of the firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider was the target of a lawsuit levied by Johnson in 2014 that claimed the No. 1 player in the world was scammed out of $3 million with a “made-up investment opportunity,” according to Golf.com. However, Johnson’s $3 million was reportedly used to cover Hardwick’s personal debts incurred through a lavish lifestyle.
Hardwick testified in federal court that he believed the funds he was using were rightfully his when in fact the money was coming out of the firm’s escrow accounts held in trust of their clients.
???⚖️ @DJohnsonPGA's former lawyer Nathan Hardwick has been found guilty of illegally spending $26m of clients' money on gambling, women and private jets. He also scammed DJ out of $3m in 2014 with a fake investment opportunity. #dustinjohnson #lawyer #pgatour #guilty #scam pic.twitter.com/28Jtqgzqlk
— Golf World (@GolfWorld1) October 17, 2018
At the end of last week, Hardwick was convicted 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 was a financial advisor for DJ early in his career. Eventually, Johnson amended his suit to claim that Hardwick was a pawn of two other business partners. Hardwick’s firm eventually filed for bankruptcy and settled with Johnson for $2 million.
This trial won’t end as well for Hardwick, who was accused of using the funds for some nefarious activity including “female social companions,” casino and sports gambling and a $635,000 trip to the 2014 Open Championship, which included a private jet and a round of golf at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Byung “B.J.” Pak said. “The extravagant lifestyle that Hardwick enjoyed at the expense of others will now be traded for time in prison.”
The government will reportedly ask for a sentence of roughly 15 years in prison, according to Law.com.