Former LandCastle Title CEOÕ attorney calls embezzlement charges “false”

Says Nat Hardwick is not guilty of any improper, illegal or unethical conduct

The attorney representing former LandCastle Title CEO Nathan (Nat) Hardwick has issued a statement on Hardwick’s behalf, claiming that Hardwick is not guilty of “any improper, illegal or unethical conduct,” and states that Hardwick believes all of the money he received was “properly distributed to him as his share of the profits of the firm.”

Hardwick stands accused of embezzling at least $30 million from LandCastle Title and its parent company, the law firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider. Hardwick was managing partner of the firm, and resigned both posts recently, according to a letter posted to the companies’ joint website on Monday.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in Fulton County Superior Court, MHS and LandCastle Title are suing Hardwick, alleging that he misappropriated funds from the companies’ own accounts and the companies’ trust accounts to pay for private jets, cover real estate investment losses, cover millions in gambling debts and other investments.

The alleged shortages in MHS’s and LandCastle’s accounts led to Fidelity National Financial (FNF) bailing out LandCastle and “stepping in” as a 70% owner of the title company.

Ed Garland, an Atlanta-based attorney, told HousingWire that is he representing Hardwick in the lawsuit. Garland has previously represented several famous clients, including: defending former NFL player Ray Lewis against murder charges in the early 2000’s, defending NFL player Ben Roethlisberger against sexual assault charges, former NFL player Jamal Lewis, NFL player Adam “Pac Man” Jones, NHL player Dany Heatley, and rapper T.I., whose given name is Clifford Harris.

Garland said in the statement that the claims in the civil suit are false and that Hardwick “looks forward to clearing his name.”

Garland’s states that Hardwick became aware of a problem with the companies’ accounts earlier this summer and “immediately alerted his partners and initiated a review by outside auditors.”

The civil suit alleges that Hardwick used $1 million of the supposedly ill-gotten gains to pay providers of private jet services, used approximately $645,000 to cover losses in failed property investments and sent approximately $4 million to various casinos via wire transfers.

Hardwick also allegedly misappropriated funds from the firm and Landcastle to “fund a portion of his $3 million purchase of a luxury condominium unit in The Residences at The St. Regis Atlanta in February 2013.”

Garland said that Hardwick “loves” his former firm and has helped to nurture its growth for more than 23 years.

“Anybody who knows Nat knows that he loves the law firm, its employees, the attorneys and the firm’s many loyal clients,” the statement said. “He would never knowingly or intentionally take money he was not entitled to or harm the firm or its clients in any way. The law firm was profitable, and Nat believed that all of the money he received was properly distributed to him as his share of the profits of the firm.”

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