ST. CHARLES- St. Charles County attorney Jeffrey Witt was sentenced to 44 months of imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release on charges of falsifying documents to obtain a bank loan secured by a St. Louis County home which did not actually belong to him. Witt was also oredered to pay restitution of more than $230,000 for the offense, in which he used an associate to impersonate the true home owner at the bank loan closing, and cashing legal client settlement checks without their knowledge.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Witt submitted a loan application in the name of his mother in order to obtain $100,000 line of credit secured by his mother's St. Louis area residence.
Witt provided a female associate with his mother's driver's license, which he stole from his mother, along with other false documentation so the associate could impersonate his mother during the loan closing at the bank.
Together they were able to obtain the $100,000 bank loan credit line. Witt immediately drew out $60,000 from the credit line, which he deposited into his law firm bank account and then withdrew for personal purposes.
Witt's mother learned of the loan closing and confronted him, after which Witt represented to his mother that he had cancelled the loan. To convince his mother, Witt created a false letter on a fake bank letterhead, forged the signature of a bank officer, and created a false "Deed of Release," all of which purportedly released the Deed of Trust on his mother's home securing the fraudulent loan.
Additionally, Witt would enter into settlement discussions on behald of one or more of his legal clients. Several times, without the knowledge of many of his clients, Witt settled their legal cases accepted settlement checks on their behalf, and forged their signatures on their settlement checks.
Witt deposited the clients' checks into his law firm bank account and spent those funds on his own personal expenses and business expenses unrelated to those clients without their knowledge.
In order to conceal his scheme, Witt falsely represented to his clients that he had neither settled their cases, nor received settlement chekcs. Witt also looted a client's family trust over which he had been made Trustee of more than $100,000.
Witt fled after becoming aware of a federal investigation in October, 2013, travelling to the Phillipines, Australia, Jordan, England, and Turkey. Witt was arrested on March 7, 2014 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, where he was planning to spend the weekend before returning to Istanbul.
Witt plead guilty in july to one felony count of bank fraud, one felony count of aggravated identity theft, and one felony count of mail fraud, and appeared Thursday for sentencing before a U.S. District Judge.