A San Ramon family law attorney has been charged in federal court in Oakland with procuring the services of disgraced Concord private investigator Christopher Butler to electronically monitor the estranged spouses and partners of her clients in order to gain an advantage for her clients in pending divorce proceedings.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California announced Tuesday that a six-count indictment was unsealed, charging Mary Nolan with tax evasion and unlawfully intercepting communications. Nolan, 60, was arrested at her home in Oakland, prior to making her initial appearance in federal court, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Nolan was the attorney of record for women whose estranged husbands were arrested in several of Butler’s now infamous “dirty DUI cases,” according to Contra Costa County prosecutor Harold Jewett. Butler designed DUI stings, using the services of attractive women to tarnish the reputations of these men. Witnesses, including employees in Nolan’s San Ramon office, said Nolan had advance knowledge of some of the dirty DUI operations before they took place.
According to the press release:
“Between approximately Aug. 9, 2007, and at least Sept. 9, 2007, Nolan conspired to and procured another person to unlawfully intercept wire, oral and electronic communications. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Nolan referred clients to private investigator Christopher Butler for Butler to install concealed listening devices in the clients’ spouses or significant others’ cars. The indictment also alleges that on numerous occasions, Nolan and her staff, acting on Nolan’s instructions, accessed the listening devices to eavesdrop on conversations by Nolan’s clients’ spouses and significant others with the intent to use the intercepted information to assist Nolan’s client’s legal proceedings.”
With regard to the tax-evasion allegations, Nolan filed false tax returns with the IRS from 2005 through 2008.
“For the tax years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, Nolan reported taxable income of -$21,395, -$12,472, -$53,934, and -$48,146, respectively, when in fact she knew her taxable income was $306,543, $410,581, $574,769 and $414,319. The unreported taxable income totaled $1,842,159, resulting in additional tax due of approximately $593,916.”
Nolan faces maximum penalties of five years in prison and $250,000 for each of the charges. The press release said she was to be freed after posting a $50,000 bond that includes security in the form of a deed that must be posted within two weeks.
Her next court date is her arraignment Sept. 25 before Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu.
Butler has since become the most famous — or infamous — private investigator in America, thanks to a series of magazine and TV exposes and state and federal investigations. The inquiries led to federal corruption and drug charges lodged against Butler and his longtime friend Norm Wielsch, the former commander of the multi-agency Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement task force.