Former Texas lawyer accused of bilking clients for at least $20M is sentenced for ‘Ponzi-type scheme’

Criminal Justice

Former Texas lawyer accused of bilking clients for at least $20M is sentenced for ‘Ponzi-type scheme’

Ponzi scheme with dollar

A former lawyer in San Antonio has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for depositing client money into his accounts and then using it to pay other client debts and support his “extravagant lifestyle,” according to federal prosecutors and court records. (Image from Shutterstock)

A former lawyer in San Antonio has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for depositing client money into his accounts and then using it to pay other client debts and support his “extravagant lifestyle,” according to federal prosecutors and court records.

Former lawyer Christopher John Pettit, 56, of San Antonio was sentenced Wednesday for the “Ponzi-type scheme,” according to a Feb. 21 press release by the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas.

Pettit’s victims lost an estimated $20 million to $65 million, prosecutors say.

Pettit pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering in October 2023.

Defrauded clients thought that their money would be used for services such as living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate planning services, investments and real estate transactions.

Pettit gave up his law license in 2022 and filed for bankruptcy the same year, according to prior coverage.

Pettit is represented by Matthew T. Allen. He did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal email seeking comment.

Law360 had coverage of sentencing.


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