Mill Creek lawyer in Ponzi scheme disbarred

  • Sun Mar 9th, 2014 7:57pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

MILL CREEK — A Mill Creek lawyer who was sent to federal prison for his role in a $65 million Ponzi scheme has been disbarred.

The state Supreme Court last month pulled George Atwater III’s law license after the Washington State Bar Association concluded that Atwater violated numerous rules of professional conduct.

Atwater had been a lawyer in Washington since 1988.

His license was suspended in 2012 after he pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Atwater was accused of helping defraud an investor of $10 million by forging bank documents. At the time, Atwater was working for Robert Miracle, a Bellevue man, who later was sentenced to 13 years in prison for running the elaborate Ponzi scheme.

Miracle operated companies supposedly involved in oil development in Malaysia and Indonesia. He told investors that the companies were making money. In reality, Miracle was using money from later investors to pay off earlier investors.

In 2006, Miracle asked Atwater to forge bank documents to convince an investor that the company was making money in oil and gas fields. Atwater altered statements, showing fake bank deposits and bogus payments for drilling expenses, according to court records. The statements convinced the investor to pony up $10 million.

Atwater was sentenced to a year in prison.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com