June 28, 2022

San Antonio lawyer faces several lawsuits for allegedly stealing thousands and thousands from consumers

A San Antonio law firm is facing mounting accusations that he has stolen millions of pounds from clientele.

At least 10 lawsuits have been submitted against lawyer Christopher “Chris” Pettit in condition district court in San Antonio and in other places about the earlier 9 months. The most latest was Wednesday.

John Muller, a San Antonio legal professional symbolizing a lady who states in a court filing that Pettit “absconded” with about $2.8 million that belongs to her, estimated the volume of consumer funds involved tops $40 million. He based mostly that on conversations he’s had with other legal professionals.

“Chris has embarrassed himself, and really our full lawful profession,” Muller stated. “There are a amount of incredibly capable lawyers, which includes myself, who are focused to guaranteeing that all of the victims acquire restitution.”

Neither Pettit nor his lawyers immediately responded to requests for comment Thursday. Pettit has specified general denials to the allegations in responses to some of the lawsuits.

Fort Really worth lawyer Craig Crockett has sued Pettit and his firm on behalf of a client who alleged they stole more than $950,000 — the client’s complete inheritance.

“There’s a surefire way to get your ticket punched as a law firm, and that’s thieving consumer money,” Crockett reported. “You’re done” training law.

“This guy did not just borrow a minor money from a customer and failed to pay it back again,” Crockett added. “This is a Ponzi scheme.” Pettit has applied 1 client’s dollars to pay another shopper back on at the very least two situations, Crockett stated.

San Antonio lawyer Sean B. McNelis, who represents a New Braunfels homebuilder suing Pettit and his business, said he’s been contacted by the FBI as part of an investigation into Pettit. No legal circumstances are pending against Pettit.

Pettit graduated from St. Mary’s University College of Regulation in 1988. He has been in private apply specializing in estate-scheduling and private-damage regulation, in accordance to his firm’s web site.

Allegations

The Condition Bar of Texas publicly reprimanded him in 2012 immediately after getting he “failed to ensure that his non-attorney associate’s perform was suitable with the expert obligations of a law firm.” It fined him $850.

The point out bar doesn’t remark on whether or not there might be pending problems from a law firm. But McNelis explained he’s shared “a variety of records” with the point out bar’s disciplinary part.

“I was explained to by the state bar that this is one particular of the most significant cases of attorney malfeasance and theft that they’ve at any time encountered,” McNelis claimed.

Some of the civil lawsuits alleged he made use of shopper dollars for his “personal benefit” and commingled customer rely on fund income with other resources. None incorporates specifics of how Pettit allegedly put in his clients’ money. But Muller mentioned he is aware Pettit owns a mansion in Orlando, Fla., that’s on the current market for about $8.5 million, as perfectly as an Alamo Heights mansion on Argyle Avenue.

Pettit has been accused of keeping away from customers with “excuses.” E-mails connected to just one lawsuit described Pettit experienced health-related issues, with the consumer continuously informed he’d be again in the place of work the pursuing week.

Therefore much, a couple of Pettit’s clients have been in a position to arrive at in-court docket settlement agreements.

Settlements arrived at

Crockett reported he just obtained a $1.5 million agreed judgment for his shopper, however it experienced not been entered with a court docket in Tarrant County.

Court docket records demonstrate Dr. Salvador Ortiz entered into an agreed judgment with Pettit and his business on March 18. Condition District Decide Laura Salinas in San Antonio requested Ortiz can recuperate just about $2.9 million in true damages and approximately $8.7 million in punitive damages.

Ortiz experienced retained Pettit for estate arranging, which include generating a will and forming two trusts. The medical doctor alleged Pettit misappropriated about $10.9 million but paid back $8 million prior to the payments stopped, prompting the medical professional to sue.

Last thirty day period, condition District Judge David A. Canales in San Antonio signed off on an agreed judgment that James and Gennifer Horan arrived at with Pettit and his company. The couple alleged they deposited much more than $900,000 in an escrow account with the business. The dollars was earmarked for development of a residence in Comal County.

Previously this calendar year, the Horans authorized a withdrawal from the account to JLP Builders Inc., the New Braunfels homebuilder. But they say Pettit’s organization in no way paid the cash, so they sued for fraud and “felony theft.”

The Horans’ agreed judgment is for $908,148 in genuine damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

JLP Builders submitted its possess lawsuit in March, alleging it deposited many customers’ design funds with Pettit for “safekeeping.” Pettit has refused to launch the resources, creating project delays, it stated.

Pettit also was supposed to be keeping the settlement resources — just below $1 million — from a client’s divorce, reported Michael Gayler, who is now representing the girl.

“We don’t feel to be equipped to get people resources,” Gayler claimed, incorporating he doesn’t know what may well have happened to the funds. “On behalf of my client, I am deeply involved. We clearly are acquiring problems finding a resolution, but I’m attempting to perform with Mr. Pettit’s attorneys.”

Crockett expects his client’s $1.5 million judgment will be value “cents on the dollar” when Pettit and/or his business enter personal bankruptcy, which he mentioned is “imminent.”

“My customer will hardly ever be designed total,” Crockett mentioned.

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