Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Former LA Power Attorney Tom Girardi Charged In $15 Million Embezzlement Scheme

A photo of an older white man giving a slight smile and looking at the camera. He appears to have a bandage on his head. He is wearing a gray suit with a maroon striped tie and pocket square.
Thomas Girardi attends the Annenberg Space for Photography's "Not An Ostrich" Exhibit Opening Party at the Annenberg Space For Photography on April 19, 2018 in Century City.
(Joe Scarnici
Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography)
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.


Disbarred lawyer Tom Girardi, 83, allegedly embezzled more than $15 million from his clients between 2010 and 2020. Girardi was a high-profile figure whose cases include the one that inspired the film Erin Brockovich, and is the estranged spouse of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality TV star Erika Jayne, who filed for divorce in 2020.

Why it matters: Girardi owned downtown L.A. law firm Girardi Keese. In grand jury charges filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Department of Justice describes Girardi as “a once-powerful figure in California’s legal community until creditors forced his law firm into bankruptcy in December 2020.” He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021 and had been placed in a conservatorship — he was reportedly living in a memory care unit at an assisted living facility as of last year.

The allegations: Girardi Keese’s chief financial officer from 2004–2020, Christopher Kazoo Kamon, 49, was also charged Wednesday. He was arrested in November while living in the Bahamas. Girardi and Kamon also face separate charges in Illinois announced Wednesday, alongside another Girardi Keese lawyer, David R. Lira.

Support for LAist comes from

Girardi allegedly negotiated settlements but concealed the actual terms of those settlements from his clients. The proceeds would be put into his attorney trust accounts, which Girardi and Kamon would then allegedly embezzle and misappropriate funds from. This included using the money to pay other clients whose settlements had already been used by the law firm, to pay staff, and for Girardi and Kamon’s personal expenses.

What’s next: The maximum sentence Girardi faces for the California charges is 20 years in federal prison. He’s scheduled to appear for arraignment on Feb. 6.

Read the indictment:

Most Read