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3 Oakland County lawyers charged with racketeering in Genesee County

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Genesee County prosecutors are charging three Oakland County attorneys with racketeering stemming from an alleged debt collection scheme.

The Fishman Group law firm in Bloomfield Hills specializes in debt collection.

On Tuesday, authorities arrested 70-year-old Marc Fishman. He is the president and CEO of the Fishman Group. Also arrested was his son, 32-year-old Ryan Fishman and 33-year-old Alexandra Ichim, a third attorney in the law firm.

The three were each charged with conducting a criminal enterprise, 30 counts of forgery and one count of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors allege members of the Fishman Group law firm filed forged documents claiming people in debt collection cases had been served.  

Officials say that let the lawyers obtain default judgments from courts allowing them to garnish bank accounts and wages from people who didn’t suspect they owed any money. The cases date back to 2019.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson says the alleged scheme netted more than a million dollars.

“This could expand to more cases and more people around the state and around the nation,” says Swanson.

Prosecutors have reached out to officials in Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, as well as Florida and Colorado.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says their investigation did not indicate anyone else in the legal system was part of the alleged scheme. During a Tuesday news conference, Leyton did not conceal his feelings about the defendants.

“These lawyers put a dagger in the heart of due process and victimized some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” says Leyton.

The Fishman Group did not respond to our request for comment.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.