Former purchasers concern Chris Pettit but get several answers

Angry clientele who collectively entrusted former attorney Christopher “Chris” Pettit with hundreds of thousands of bucks he’s accused of stealing questioned him Wednesday about where by their income went but acquired handful of solutions.

“I want to know what you did with all of my damn income,” New Braunfels resident Charles Koch demanded throughout a collectors conference in a downtown courthouse.

“That’s what I’m trying to get to the bottom of,” Pettit answered.

The former San Antonio lawyer, 55, and his now-defunct regulation business submitted for individual bankruptcy reorganization June 1 just after experiencing a slew of lawsuits from customers who alleged he absconded with their funds. The allegations have induced an FBI investigation.

Pettit amended his private bankruptcy submitting Tuesday, reporting $40.5 million in belongings and $112.2 million in money owed. He at first detailed $27.8 million in property and $115.2 million in credit card debt.

In individual bankruptcy documents for his regulation organization, Pettit claimed the quantity owed to Koch is “unknown.”

Pettit’s answers didn’t fulfill Koch.

“You know what you did with the revenue, so what do you do with it?” Koch pressed.

Responding in a in a minimal voice muffled by a mask he wore for every courthouse procedures, Pettit said that when he learns the remedy he’ll share it with the Chapter 11 trustee overseeing his case.

Far more than 50 people today attended the conference the Hipolito F. Garcia Federal Creating and U.S. Courthouse in San Antonio, with other folks listening on their phones in an adjacent overflow space throughout the 3-hour continuing.

It marked the 1st time Pettit has appeared in public because the allegations have been described.

‘Greed … is behind this’

“I really don’t recognize why you did all of this,” explained Shelli Scott, of San Antonio, who calculated her spouse and children has misplaced about $700,000 with Pettit. “ I know: greed. I know persons get greedy and that is what I imagine is powering this.”

Scott instructed Pettit she can not explain to her explain to her mom about the missing income due to the fact she’d have a heart assault or stroke. Pettit’s law firm instructed Scott to check with a dilemma.

“Why just can’t we discover our dollars?” she questioned. “Where did it go?”

“We’re in the course of action of investigating,” Pettit explained.

“I just hope that you turn out to be the person we all believed you were being,” Scott responded.

Pettit managed estate scheduling and personalized-injuries scenarios and carried out tax, trust and probate operate.

San Antonio lawyer Dean Greer, who signifies creditors, desired to know if Pettit would promise to convey to his previous customers where the funds went.

“That’s what I’m attempting to locate out,” Pettit claimed.

“Just give me some hint of in which the money went,” Greer stated. A few of men and women then yelled, “Do it.”

“I’ll unquestionably do all the things to aid the trustee monitor the money,” Pettit promised. “I’m not seeking to disguise everything.”

While he has admitted that he “misappropriated and dissipated” funds from a trust account in at the very least a single of the lawsuits, Pettit stated previous legislation company personnel may possibly be “culpable” of having client money. In amended files filed Tuesday, he shown promises of $4 million each individual against two of them.

Private investigator

Pettit paid out $5,100 to a private investigator soon after the individual bankruptcy filing to glimpse into attainable misappropriation of client property.

That revelation came for the duration of an afternoon court docket hearing on the trustee’s movement looking for an get directing Pettit to exhibit why he must not be held in contempt for withdrawing $125,000 from his retirement account following filing for personal bankruptcy.

Pettit contends the cash is his to invest due to the fact the retirement account was funded with legitimate earnings. The trustee, who was appointed by the court docket to oversee the property, has reported the retirement cash should be off limitations till the courtroom rules whether or not it is exempt from the personal bankruptcy estate and out of creditors’ attain.

Pettit has been applying the revenue for “extravagant living” in Florida, explained attorney Patrick Huffstickler, who represents the trustee. Roble Dorado LLC, for which Pettit serves as the sole member, owns a mansion in Disney World’s Golden Oak community. It’s been valued at additional than $6 million by Pettit.

It seems he used some of the money for journeys to Disney Environment, Common Orlando Vacation resort, Kennedy Area Center and the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Huffstickler stated.

He included that Pettit’s testimony and courtroom displays, such as bank statements, would show Pettit is “basically thumbing his nose at the bankruptcy court and the bankrupt system.”

Huffstickler also stated Main U.S. Individual bankruptcy Choose Craig Gargotta would want to handle a spending plan for Pettit.

“I comprehend there is an problem of he has to have a thing to reside on. Effectively, these poor folks really do not have their dollars,” Huffstickler reported, referencing the former shoppers in the courtroom. “What are they likely to reside on?”

Pettit was questioned extensively on the witness stand about his put up-individual bankruptcy expending, which includes a $20,000 house loan payment he created on the Golden Oak mansion.

He at first claimed in individual bankruptcy documents the mansion was his, but in the amended paperwork he reported it now belongs to his 10-calendar year-aged son’s trust. Florida company filings for Roble Dorado make no point out of the trust.

“So why are you having to pay the (property finance loan) from your individual lender account?” asked attorney Danielle Speeding, who also represents the trustee.

“Because the rely on didn’t have the funds to pay out it,” Pettit said.

Pettit experienced been living in the mansion given that May well with his husband or wife, a Disney acrobat, who has because moved out. The mansion had been shown for sale but the listing was taken down right after there were no gives, Pettit mentioned.

He also disclosed that his son’s rely on owns a New Orleans condominium creating valued at about $1 million.

The hearing was scheduled to resume Thursday afternoon. The lenders meeting will go on up coming thirty day period.

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