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Published on February 22, 2024
San Antonio Lawyer Christopher Pettit Gets 50-Year Sentence for Multi-Million Dollar FraudSource: Unsplash/ Tingey Injury Law Firm

A former San Antonio lawyer's high-flying days are over as he lands a monumental 50-year prison sentence for bilking his clients out of millions. Fifty-six-year-old Christopher Pettit, once a trusted attorney, is now branded a criminal mastermind behind a Ponzi-type scam that preyed on those seeking his legal advice for estate planning and living trusts. According to KENS 5, Pettit pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges after an investigation exposed his massive and deceptive criminal scheme.

The deceitful plot saw clients’ hard-earned money diverted to support Pettit's lavish lifestyle rather than funding their future security. As reported by San Antonio Express-News, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia described the case as "the absolute worst white-collar fraud case" he had ever encountered, acknowledging the presence of about 50 of Pettit’s victims in the courtroom. Their search for justice ending in the courtroom, but their struggles sparked by Pettit's greed destined to continue on.

The sentence is seen as a cautionary tale for the legal profession, with those bound by the oath to serve justice to instead dole out deception facing the sternest of consequences. Pettit's fall from grace unfolded through the coordinated efforts of the FBI, Texas State Securities Board, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Fair Oaks Ranch Police Department, as outlined in the Justice Department release obtained by KENS 5.

Inflicting financial and emotional turmoil on his clients, Pettit's scheme was estimated by authorities to swindle between $20 million and $65 million. Pettit now has to pay back his debt to society, behind bars. As U.S. attorney Jaime Esparza told KENS 5, the case began with a single victim filing a complaint, which ultimately unraveled Pettit's intricate web of lies and deception. Given his age and the sentence, Pettit could very well spend the rest of his life in prison—a far cry from the prosperity he falsely promised his victims.