Dreier freed on house arrest

By: By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer
By: By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - A prominent New York lawyer accused in a $400 million fraud case left jail on Friday to await trial under house arrest.

After signing paperwork in a courthouse clerk's office, Marc Dreier was to be escorted by deputy U.S. marshals to his Manhattan apartment, where he'll be monitored by private security guards.

"He's met all his bail conditions and is ready to go home," said his attorney, Gerald Shargel.

Dreier, 58, was arrested in early December on charges that he cheated hedge funds out of more than $400 million over the past four years. He has pleaded not guilty.

A judge ordered Dreier released last week over the objection of prosecutors, who insisted that no conditions could ensure he would not flee. They cited his numerous trips overseas and their suspicions that he might have hidden money.

Dreier agreed that armed security guards, who will be in his apartment at all times, may use "reasonable force" to prevent him from fleeing. He also had to post three months' worth of costs for the guards, or $210,000, in advance.

In other conditions, all computers, cell phones and other means of electronic communication except for a land line telephone were removed from his apartment, along with knives or anything else that might serve as a weapon. And all visitors must be approved by the court.

Before he was arrested, Dreier spent a decade building a law firm that had more than 250 attorneys and some big name clients including retired football star Michael Strahan and former News Corp. publishing executive Judith Regan.

All of Dreier's assets have been frozen. He could face from 30 years to life in prison if he is convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.

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