Lawyer pleads guilty in 'Ponzi-type scheme' that cost his clients up to $65M
A former San Antonio lawyer has pleaded to federal charges for persuading his clients to deposit funds with him and then using the money for his benefit. Image from Shutterstock.
A former San Antonio lawyer has pleaded to federal charges for persuading his clients to deposit funds with him and then using the money for his benefit.
Christopher John Pettit, 56, of San Antonio pleaded guilty to three counts each of wire fraud and money laundering Oct. 5, according to an Oct. 6 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice and stories by Reuters, Law360 and MySA.
Pettit engaged in a “Ponzi-type scheme” that resulted in an estimated loss to his victims of between $20 million and $65 million, according to the press release.
The press release described three ways that Pettit obtained money from clients before misusing it for his benefit. He claimed that the money would be used for trustee accounts, for investment in high-percentage bonds, and for 1031 real estate exchanges.
Pettit gave up his law license in 2022 and filed for bankruptcy the same year, according to Law360. MySA reports that several of Pettit’s homes, cars and collectibles “hit the auction block after his downfall.”
Sentencing is set for Jan. 11. Pettit faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud counts and 10 years in prison for the money laundering counts.