Former San Antonio attorney sentenced to 50 years in prison for wire fraud, money laundering

The victims of Pettit lost between $20 million and $60 million

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SAN ANTONIO – A former San Antonio attorney who scammed his clients out of millions of dollars has been sentenced to 50 years in prison on wire fraud and money laundering charges, according to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas.

Christopher John Pettit, of San Antonio, pleaded guilty to charges that he made several misrepresentations to influence clients to make certain financial decisions and transactions through his law firm.

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Pettit sent emails, texts, and letters to persuade clients to deposit money to his firm for trusts, wills, and other estate planning services. He used the clients’ funds to open the accounts and named himself as the trustee to give him the ability to access and move the money into his own account.

Pettit also falsely promised to invest clients’ money in high-percentage return bonds but instead diverted those funds to his account while falsely representing himself as a qualified intermediary.

Pettit would use the funds from his clients to pay for other clients’ debts and to support an extravagant lifestyle. The victims of Pettit lost between $20 million and $60 million.

On Oct. 5, 2023, Pettit pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was assigned the case in conjunction with the Texas State Securities Board, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Fair Oaks Police Department.

About the Authors

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

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