A Philadelphia lawyer who was convicted on six counts of laundering money for a multimillion-dollar drug ring, was disbarred this week in Pennsylvania by the state’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
J. Michael Farrell, 65, is serving a three-year federal sentence in Philadelphia. His license to practice law has been suspended since 2017, when a jury found him guilty on a total of 10 charges that also included witness tampering.
Federal prosecutors said that from 2009 to 2013, Farrell worked with the so-called Nicka Organization, a crime family based in Baltimore that distributed thousands of pounds of illegal marijuana throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. A 2009 Drug Enforcement Administration raid on the group’s headquarters turned up 80 pounds of marijuana, 30 cell phones, and a ledger showing $14 million in marijuana sales. Evidence also implicated Farrell — who had an office in the 700 block of Arch Street — with concealing the origin of the organization’s ill-gotten earnings.
During his 15-day trial, witnesses testified that Farrell deposited drug money into his own account and concealed its source; paid for legal representation for other conspirators; and bought and sent money orders to jailed members of the crime family.
The three alleged leaders of the drug organization — David D’Amico, of Baltimore; Matthew Nicka, of Baltimore; and Gretchen Peterson, of Kennett Square — pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to less than 10 years in prison.
Farrell is scheduled to be released from a residential reentry center in July.