Utah lawyer sent to jail for taking money from clients and lying in bankruptcy court

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SALT LAKE CITY (KSL.com) – A local lawyer was sentenced to prison earlier this week after being found guilty of illegally taking money from clients and lying to a bankruptcy court.

Eric Singleton, 56, will spend a year and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to fraudulent bankruptcy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah. Singleton was sentenced on Monday.

According to Singleton’s plea agreement, he admitted to illegally taking money and using it for personal gain before trying to hide his actions during his clients’ bankruptcy proceedings.

From May 2016 to September 2017, Singleton told two clients to transfer $288,000 to him after selling properties to Magna. The money was supposed to be used to pay Singleton’s attorney fees – which amounted to $22,000 – with the remaining $266,000 to be held in a trust account. Singleton told his clients that the money in the trust would be “guarded” and ensure the money would not be taken up by collections during the bankruptcy proceedings, according to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The agreement also states that Singleton told clients they would get the money back once the bankruptcy case is resolved.

However, Singleton admitted to taking the $266,000 and spending the money on business and personal expenses, according to the plea agreement.

Singleton then filed three bankruptcy cases on behalf of the clients, where he told a federal bankruptcy court that his clients had less than $50,000 in assets despite the $266,000 being transferred to the trust, the agreement says. advocacy. He then filed two more bankruptcy filings to continue trying to hide the stolen funds from the trust.

Singleton was indicted last July and pleaded guilty to the bankruptcy fraud charge the same month. Court records show Singleton will be placed on probation for two years after serving his prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay $266,843 in restitution. Singleton must report to the US Marshal’s Service by March 18 to begin his prison term.

The Utah State Bar website shows Singleton has been a licensed attorney in Utah since 1994 and his attorney’s license is currently suspended.

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