Pinellas Attorney Accused Of Taking Almost $1 Million From Clients
Personal injury law is big business. Just watch TV or listen to the radio and you are bound to see or hear an ad from a local or nationwide attorney who’d like to represent you in court. It’s been proven that victims who are represented by attorneys generally have larger settlements, so it normally makes sense to retain counsel.
But sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned. Sometimes your attorney winds up being accused of cooking the books and gettng creative with his firm’s accounting practices. Take the case of Christopher Reynolds, an attorney who started his own practice in Pinellas County back in 2015. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced yesterday that Reynolds has been charged with irregularities in his firm’s accounting. Sheriff Gualtieri went on to say that Reynolds is accused of spending money that was legally awarded to his clients to finance a drug habit.
In all, Reynolds is accused of taking $840,000 from customers who came to him in their time of need.
Sheriff Gualtieri said Reynolds was supposed to refer victims to health providers and then recieve payments from the insurance companies to cover expenses. He is accused of taking the money without reimbursing clients. A client made a formal complaint about Reynolds’ after she claimed he stopped communicating with her following a long period with no reimbursements for her expenses. That’s when she contacted the insurance company and got a shock. Turns out, the insurance company had allegedly settled with Reynolds for $100,000 and she would be receiving no more payments whatsoever. In addition to the payment stoppage, she also learned that she would not be getting the $100,000 either.
Sheriff Gualtieri said Reynolds stands accused ot forging clients’ signatures on documents that allowed him to spend the funds without their knowledge. During their investigation, Pinellas County deputies learned that the Florida Bar association was already conducting an investigation into Reynolds. In all, Gualtieri said Reynolds illegally procured $840,000 from his clients. Reynolds’ license to practice law in Florida was suspended late last year.
During their investigation, deputies were able to determine that Reynolds used most of the money to pay for a drug habit. The investigation also learned that Reynolds paid $30,000 to OnlyFans, over $25,000 to an anonymous website, about $400,000 was spent via PayPal and over $24,000 was spent on Uber. Reynolds, who was arrested yesterday, now faces several charges of grand theft and money laundering. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Reynolds should contact the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Source: WFLA.com
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