GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lawyer accused of filing fraudulent documents in courts to seize client assets has pleaded no contest to criminal charges.

Marc Fishman, president of Fishman Group P.C. in Oakland County, entered his plea at a pretrial hearing last week. He faced one count of maintaining a criminal enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated the same as any conviction during sentencing.

Investigators accused Fishman of filing documents to secure assets for his clients without their knowledge. Instead of notifying the clients, he claimed they could not be reached and the courts released money to Fishman.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that Fishman will avoid serving any jail time as long as he pays full restitution to clients who had assets “improperly garnished” — estimated at nearly $150,000.

“The perpetrators of these crimes represent some of the worst of what the legal profession has to offer,” Nessel stated. “For their own financial gain, these attorneys preyed on vulnerable people who lacked sufficient knowledge about the legal system. I’m grateful for the work of our attorneys in the Financial Crimes Division of the Department of Attorney General for securing this plea.”

Charges were first announced against Fishman in April 2021 in Genesee County. Sheriff Chris Swanson said in 2021 that investigators found at least 30 fraudulent filings in Genesee County alone, but also discovered documents from Calhoun, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Livingston and Oakland counties.

Fishman’s son, Ryan, who was also a lawyer with Fishman Group P.C., still faces related charges in Oakland County and Genesee County.