For attorneys who have not yet applied the marketing techniques set forth in How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients, making a buck can be a hard slog. But according to a federal grand jury indictment, one enterprising Orange County attorney found a way to earn some extra income with a side business.
On February 11, 2020, Melinda Romines, 41, of Anaheim, was taken into federal custody, charged with one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, and two counts of distributing methamphetamine.
According to the federal indictment, Romines would find firearms available for purchase on the black market, and then acted as a broker between the unlicensed dealers and customers, by buying the firearms from the dealers and then reselling them to customers.
The indictment provides an example, wherein Romines, in a Los Angeles parking lot, sold a handgun and rifle, both with no serial numbers, along with various accouterments, for $2,600. And again, according to the indictment, she had a side business to her side business, selling almost a quarter-pound of methamphetamine in two transactions in 2018.
Of course, it goes without saying that I am reporting only on what the indictment alleges, and every person charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. I hope that all of this was just a horrible mistake, and that Romines will be immediately exonerated. I have no personal knowledge of the allegations. Further, I can’t speak to the viability of this side business because, while the indictment identifies the purchase prices, I don’t know the ROI. But I will observe that the synergy with Romines’ practice seems apparent, since she was a divorce and criminal defense attorney.
Still, if the allegations turn out to be true, I have to believe that Romines would have been better served by devoting her energies to the techniques set forth in Pipeline. For example, the indictment alleges that in one instance, Romines traveled to Los Angeles to sell a single handgun and some ammunition to a buyer for $900. Given that it takes about three hours to travel round-trip to Los Angeles from Orange County, and even assuming a generous $500 profit on the gun, that nets her about $166 per hour. She would have had far better ROI, staying in the office and working on a client’s case. That, and it’s legal.