Prose­cu­tion al­leges Hard­wick spent stolen mil­lions on jets, gam­bling, women

Manila Times - - Golf -

IF a prose­cu­tor’s claims are cor­rect, real es­tate at­tor­ney Nathan ‘Nat’ Hard­wick found in­cred­i­bly lav­ish ways to spend mil­lions of dol­lars he is ac­cused of steal­ing and em­bez­zling from his law part­ners and PGA Tour golfer and Coastal Carolina alum­nus Dustin John­son.

Ac­cord­ing to re­port­ing on the trial by Mered­ith Hobbs of Law. com, the al­leged spend­ing in­cluded $18.47 mil­lion on gam­bling, pri­vate jet travel and women from 2011 through Au­gust 2014. The prose­cu­tion sub­mit­ted two binders of doc­u­men­ta­tion as ev­i­dence that Hard­wick spent $4.39 mil­lion on “fe­male so­cial com­pan­ions,” in­clud­ing one tes­ti­fy­ing wit­ness who claimed to have met him through Su­garDaddy.com.

Hard­wick’s trial is on­go­ing in At­lanta on mul­ti­ple charges in­clud­ing fraud and con­spir­acy in con­nec­tion with his al­leged theft of ap­prox­i­mately $26 mil­lion from the ac­counts of Mor­ris

Hard­wick Sch­nei­der and the af- The prose­cu­tion has rested its case.

John­son, 33, filed a law­suit against Hard­wick, part­ners Mark Wittstadt and brother Ger­ard Wittstadt, and their At­lanta-based law

a set­tle­ment in 2016.

John­son ini­tially claimed in the suit that the de­fen­dants con­spired to bilk him of $3 mil­lion with a fab­ri­cated story about an in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally cover short­ages in the op­er­at­ing and trust ac­counts

The short­ages were al­legedly caused by mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tions.

John­son, who de­scribed Hard- pri­mary ad­vis­ers in his pro golf ca­reer, amended his suit to claim he be­lieved Hard­wick was used as a “pawn” by the Wittstadts to scam him of the $3 mil­lion.

Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in July 2015, and John­son reached a set­tle­ment for at least $2 mil­lion that had to be ap­proved by the bank­ruptcy court.

Hard­wick, 53, was ar­rested by fed­eral au­thor­i­ties in Fe­bru­ary 2016 along with Asha Mau­rya, the for­mer con­troller for Mor­ris Hard­wick Sch­nei­der’s res­i­den­tial real es­tate clos­ing side who was named as a co­con­spir­a­tor. Mau­rya pleaded guilty to a sin­gle count of con­spir­acy to com­mit wire fraud last year and is co­op­er­at­ing with the govern­ment.

She has ad­mit­ted to steal­ing $900,000 from the firm. Hard­wick’s de­fense team, led by Ed Gar­land of Gar­land Sa­muel & Loeb, has ar­gued that Mau­rya is the cul­prit. Gar­land said in court that Mau­rya de­frauded com­pa­nies she worked for be­fore join­ing the am­bu­lance com­pany that hired

Hard­wick is charged with 24 counts of con­spir­acy to com­mit wire fraud, wire fraud and mak­ing

- tu­tions, and faces up to 34 years in prison if con­victed.

Ac­cord­ing to Law.com ar­ti­cles, prose­cu­tor J. Rus­sell Phillips al­leges Hard­wick spent nearly $4 mil­lion on three women -- Ju­lia Oli­vares, ex-

she met Hard­wick on­line in 2008 via Su­garDaddy.com.

Cor­co­ran tes­ti­fied that Hard­wick ar­ranged pri­vate jet char­ters for her trips to Dis­ney World and the Bilt­more Es­tate in Asheville, N.C., gave her a credit card to use and gifts in­clud­ing a car, clothes, shoes and makeup. She said the last time she saw Hard­wick was in 2014 in New Or­leans, where he left her about $1,500 in cash at the ho­tel desk when she ar­rived and gave her an­other $10,000 in cash be­fore she left.

Other al­leged ex­pen­di­tures de­scribed in tes­ti­mony in­clude more than $7 mil­lion at casi­nos, more than $3 mil­lion with a bookie, $680,000 for a lux­ury condo at The St. Regis At­lanta, $273,000 on a di­a­mond ring for In­man, $186,000 on a de­posit for a party on a pri­vate is­land, and $635,000 on a trip to

bud­dies that in­cluded a cus­tom­ized jet and round at St. An­drews.

Phillips al­leges these ex­pen­di­tures were made de­spite Hard­wick show­ing a neg­a­tive bank ac­count bal­ance in 2010.

Over seven days of prose­cu­tion tes­ti­mony, the govern­ment called, among oth­ers, Hard­wick’s for­mer eq­uity part­ners Art Mor­ris and Mark Wittstadt, book­ies, Cor­co­ran, an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tor and sev­eral of Hard­wick’s per­sonal bankers and cred­i­tors to tes­tify that he lied to them about his out­stand­ing le­gal judg­ments and other li­a­bil­i­ties.

The com­pany he joined this year sug­gests he just might. John­son re­cently com­pleted his 11th sea­son on the PGA Tour, win­ning three times dur­ing the 2017-18 sea­son to align him­self with some of the big­gest names in the sport’s his­tory.

John­son has 19 ca­reer PGA Tour wins, which ties him for 38th all time with Ben Cren­shaw, Ernie Els, Doug Ford, Hu­bert Green and

AFP PHOTO

Dustin John­son

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