A former practicing attorney in Alabama will spend more than the next three years in jail after pleading guilty to stealing more than a $1 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama, Christopher Pitts was sentenced to 37 months in prison for devising a scheme to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution.
Court documents showed that Pitts acted as the closing attorney for the sales of all HUD-owned homes in northern and central Alabama between 2005 and 2008. As closing attorney, Pitts was responsible for collecting the purchase money, paying the associated closing costs, and transmitting the remaining money to HUD.
But, as Pitts admitted when he pleaded guilty, on numerous occasions, he did not actually send the money to HUD as he was supposed to.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as a result of Pitts’ fraud, HUD never received the money it was entitled to from the home sales.
At Pitts’ sentencing hearing, United States District Judge L. Scott Coogler found that Pitts was responsible for causing a total loss to HUD of $1,090,888.53.
In addition to receiving the 37-month sentence, the judge ordered Pitts must make full restitution to HUD when he is released from prison.