Savannah personal injury attorney, Benjamin Eichholz, entered a plea in federal court yesterday to obstructing a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation by repeatedly transmitting false and misleading documents to the Department of Labor and by making false and misleading statements to investigators. Eichholz, 58 years old, faced a 77 count indictment that charged him with mail fraud, money laundering and obstructing the DOL investigation and trial was to begin in 3 weeks. Eichholz was prominent locally for his TV advertisements that hawked a phone number of “win win 1.” Eichholz faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In July 2006 Eichholz was barred for two years from practicing in federal court by the United States Bankruptcy Court for actions that were characterized in the disciplinary order of the Court as “sloppy at best and misleading at worst.” The order barring Eichholz from appearing in Bankruptcy Court was later adopted by the District Court judges.
Eichholz had also faced a class action lawsuit that accused him of overcharging his clients in settlements from civil cases. That case was settled in 2006, but formed the basis of the government’s similar transaction notice in the criminal case, compounding the difficulty of defending the case. It will be interesting to see if the uncharged conduct figures into Eichholz’ sentencing calculation.