17Nov 2016
Nov 17, 2016

Former probate attorney guilty plea in estate embezzlement

An ex probate attorney has admitted to defrauding estates of over half a million dollars. Estates he had been entrusted to manage. The former probate attorney (aged 38) Christopher Mansfield, Former probate attorney pleads guilty to embezzlementadmitted to misappropriating around $587,030 from around a dozen estates. The management of these estates spanned three years to October 2015. Mansfield was charged on September 28th by Federal prosecutors. Charges were bank fraud and unlawful monetary transaction in relation to the fraud. Mansfield had opened nominated bank accounts specifically to credit, transfer and disperse monies. The money was used for personal gain compounded by having to support a demanding cocaine habit. The U.S. attorney prosecuting commented that when attorneys are embezzling funds from their clients the profession should show concern. In this particular case a substantial sentence will be sought.

The fraud carries a maximum of 30 years imprisonment along with a fine of $1 million. The maximum charge for money laundering carries a 10 year prison term. Again the fine for money laundering around $1 million. It’s believed that the fraud began pre 2013. However the court’s hands are tied prior to this due to the statute of limitations. The drug habit of the ex probate attorney was put at around $2,000 to $4,000 per week. Mansfield added he had been clean since November 2015 after seeking treatment. This though will come as little comfort to the victims of the former probate attorney. The IRS and FBI investigation in to Mansfield followed separate enquiries by The Tulsa County Probate Court and The Oklahoma Bar Association. Irregularities were found within estates under the control of Mansfield.

Mansfield was an Oklahoma licensed attorney at the time of the alleged crimes and court appointed in probate cases. His responsibilities took in overseeing the financial affairs and assets of numerous probate estates. Along with serving as a personal representative in probate cases. It was noted that nothing had been recovered and that to recover any money would be a challenge. Restitution totals $587,030 which represents the amount taken. Sentencing is set for February 15th.

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