On Monday, a federal jury found Nathan Hardwick, Dustin Johnson’s former attorney and one of the top advisers in his golf career, guilty of embezzling $26 million from the now-bankrupt real estate closing firm bearing his name.
It’s the latest chapter in a story that began years ago; Johnson claimed in a 2014 lawsuit that the firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider had conspired to scam him of $3 million with a made-up investment opportunity. That $3 million was apparently used to cover debts incurred by Hardwick’s lavish spending.
Hardwick, 53, testified that he thought the firm’s funds he was spending were legitimately his. In reality, withdrawals were being made from the firm’s escrow accounts held in trust for the firm’s clients, reports Myrtle Beach Online. Law.com reports that a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick on Friday of 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 advised Johnson on financial decisions earlier in his pro golf career. He ultimately changed his suit to make it seem as though Hardwick had been a “pawn” of two other business partners, the Wittstadts, to scam him of the $3 million. Hardwick’s firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2015. The firm also reached a settlement for more than $2 million with Johnson thereafter.
Testimony in Hardwick’s Northern District of Georgia trial revealed a tawdry list of expenditures that included paying for “female social companions,” lavish private jet trips and millions in gambling losses. Included in that spending:
-$4 million on three “female social companions,” including Katrena Corcoran of Nebraska. Corcoran testified she met Hardwick in 2008 via SugarDaddy.com and subsequently received a credit card to use on a car, clothes, shoes and makeup.
-$7 million at casinos
-$3 million with a bookie
-$680,000 for a luxury condo at the St. Regis Atlanta
-$635,000 on a trip for his buddies to the 2014 British Open including a private jet and a round at St. Andrews
-$273,000 on a diamond ring for ex-fiancee Heather Inman
-$186,000 on a deposit for a part on a private island
U.S. Attorney Byung “B.J.” Pak had harsh words for Hardwick, according to CBS 46.
“Hardwick was motivated by unadultered deceit and greed when he blatantly violated the trust placed in him by embezzling millions of dollars from his clients and partners,” he said. “The extravagant lifestyle that Hardwick enjoyed at the expense of others will now be traded for time in prison.”
Hardwick was taken into custody after the verdict. He will await sentencing. Law.com reports that the government would ask for a sentence of roughly 15 years.