The lawyers who work for P.A. a law firm in Miami, Florida, were arrested for attempted bribery and for illegally working in Kenya.
It is reported that the legal minds had come to Africa to offer money to the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash to lure them in switching lawyers.
The families of the victims they were contacting had already hired Kenyan and USA lawyers, so that Steve Marks of the firm of Podhurst Orseck could take over the representation of those cases.
The scheme involved contacting clients from Clifford Law Offices, Ribbeck Law Chartered, Wisner Law Firm all of them from Chicago and Kreindler and Kreindler LLP from New York City.
The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing Max 8 was a flight from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya and crashed on March 10, 2019 near the town of Bishoftu six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people aboard.
Those in the know state that police and immigration authorities prevented the Indonesian nationals from continuing with their plan when a family member represented by Clifford Law Offices called the authorities.
According to sources, a Kenyan only identified as Amos was recruited by Steve Marks from the Podhurst Orseck law firm to unethically contact already represented families of the victims of the crash according to comments made by Ivan Henry.
The media reports that Vini Walandari would contact the families with the pretext of providing news about the court case in Chicago and offering “comfort” for the families tragic loss. Once the family had agreed to meet her, then Vini and the gang would offer the victims’ families money to switch lawyers.
Ivan Henry on behalf Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck would pay US$30,000.00 (Ksh3 million) to the local lawyers so they would terminate their existing contracts with law firms like Clifford Law Offices and give their cases to Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck.
Steve Marks from Podhurst Orseck is also accused of paying an upfront payment to the clients to switch lawyers. The amounts payable to the clients varied from US$20,000.00 to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the value of their cases. Besides an initial payment to switch, the clients are also paid monthly payments equivalent to the passenger’s salary until their cases are settled.
“we are outraged with the unethical practices of Steve Marks from the Podhurst Orseck law firm in Kenya. We will file complaints with the Bar of Florida and will seek punishment from the local Kenyan authorities.” Ms. Mercy Wambua added that “these are very serious violations of the law and ethics rules that could cause for these lawyers to be disbarred and be criminally charged,” said Mercy Wambua, the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society Of Kenya