November 30, 2022

Saluti Law Medi

Rule it with System

San Antonio law firm faces various lawsuits for allegedly thieving hundreds of thousands from customers

A San Antonio attorney is struggling with mounting accusations that he has stolen hundreds of thousands of pounds from shoppers.

At minimum 10 lawsuits have been submitted versus legal professional Christopher “Chris” Pettit in state district court in San Antonio and elsewhere more than the earlier 9 months. The most the latest was Wednesday.

John Muller, a San Antonio lawyer representing a girl who suggests in a courtroom filing that Pettit “absconded” with about $2.8 million that belongs to her, believed the total of shopper money included tops $40 million. He based that on conversations he’s experienced with other attorneys.

“Chris has humiliated himself, and actually our entire legal profession,” Muller said. “There are a amount of pretty able lawyers, including myself, who are committed to making certain that all of the victims receive restitution.”

Neither Pettit nor his attorneys straight away responded to requests for comment Thursday. Pettit has offered typical denials to the allegations in responses to some of the lawsuits.

Fort Value law firm Craig Crockett has sued Pettit and his organization on behalf of a consumer who alleged they stole a lot more than $950,000 — the client’s total inheritance.

“There’s a surefire way to get your ticket punched as a law firm, and which is stealing consumer money,” Crockett mentioned. “You’re done” practising legislation.

“This man did not just borrow a very little cash from a client and unsuccessful to pay out it again,” Crockett extra. “This is a Ponzi plan.” Pettit has utilized one client’s income to fork out one more consumer again on at the very least two occasions, Crockett said.

San Antonio attorney Sean B. McNelis, who signifies a New Braunfels homebuilder suing Pettit and his agency, said he’s been contacted by the FBI as part of an investigation into Pettit. No felony instances are pending versus Pettit.

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

Allegations

The Point out Bar of Texas publicly reprimanded him in 2012 following finding he “failed to assure that his non-lawyer associate’s conduct was compatible with the professional obligations of a law firm.” It fined him $850.

The condition bar doesn’t comment on whether or not there might be pending problems towards a law firm. But McNelis mentioned he’s shared “a variety of records” with the state bar’s disciplinary area.

“I was told by the condition bar that this is a person of the greatest instances of attorney malfeasance and theft that they’ve ever encountered,” McNelis said.

Some of the civil lawsuits alleged he applied shopper money for his “personal benefit” and commingled consumer believe in fund funds with other cash. None incorporates specifics of how Pettit allegedly spent his clients’ revenue. But Muller explained he is aware Pettit owns a mansion in Orlando, Fla., which is on the sector for about $8.5 million, as nicely as an Alamo Heights mansion on Argyle Avenue.

Pettit has been accused of staying away from customers with “excuses.” Email messages hooked up to 1 lawsuit mentioned Pettit had medical problems, with the consumer consistently advised he’d be again in the office environment the next 7 days.

Consequently much, a few of Pettit’s consumers have been in a position to get to in-court docket settlement agreements.

Settlements arrived at

Crockett stated he just attained a $1.5 million agreed judgment for his client, though it had not been entered with a court in Tarrant County.

Court docket records present Dr. Salvador Ortiz entered into an agreed judgment with Pettit and his organization on March 18. State District Decide Laura Salinas in San Antonio requested Ortiz can recover nearly $2.9 million in genuine damages and virtually $8.7 million in punitive damages.

Ortiz had retained Pettit for estate arranging, like generating a will and forming two trusts. The medical professional alleged Pettit misappropriated about $10.9 million but compensated again $8 million right before the payments stopped, prompting the health practitioner to sue.

Past thirty day period, point out District Decide David A. Canales in San Antonio signed off on an agreed judgment that James and Gennifer Horan attained with Pettit and his agency. The few alleged they deposited a lot more than $900,000 in an escrow account with the organization. The dollars was earmarked for building of a property in Comal County.

Before this yr, the Horans accredited 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 real damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

JLP Builders submitted its possess lawsuit in March, alleging it deposited quite a few customers’ design funds with Pettit for “safekeeping.” Pettit has refused to launch the cash, triggering task delays, it explained.

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

“We really don’t feel to be able to get those resources,” Gayler stated, introducing he doesn’t know what might have occurred to the cash. “On behalf of my customer, I am deeply worried. We obviously are owning hassle obtaining a resolution, but I’m hoping to get the job done with Mr. Pettit’s attorneys.”

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

“My customer will in no way be manufactured whole,” Crockett reported.

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