A particular harm attorney accused of thieving more than $840,000 from shoppers was arrested Monday by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Place of work, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri introduced in a news convention.
Christopher Michael Reynolds, 44, of Pinellas Park, opened his private observe in Seminole in 2015 and principally represented clientele wounded in car or truck crashes. In accordance to Gualtieri, at least 16 customers had their scenarios settled, then had their income stolen by Reynolds.
In accordance to information and facts delivered by the sheriff’s office, the to start with identified instance of Reynolds stealing income from clients was in December 2018.
When purchasers initially retained Reynolds as their lawyer, he continually responded to any thoughts or issues they experienced, Gualtieri explained. But in excess of time, Reynolds’ responses to customers became infrequent and inevitably stopped completely. Some customers would then connect with their insurance policy corporations because of to mounting healthcare charges. Their insurance policy companies would explain to them their conditions had been settled.
The sheriff’s workplace to start with acquired of the allegations past Oct, when 1 of Reynolds’ clientele reported that her insurance coverage enterprise instructed her that her lawsuit had been settled months earlier for $100,000, Gualtieri explained. But the lady mentioned she hadn’t acquired the cash.
Investigators uncovered that Reynolds had forged the woman’s title on legal paperwork and collected the settlement money, in accordance to the sheriff’s business office, but he did not use it to pay back her clinical charges.
Gualtieri said a lien was submitted versus yet another 1 of Reynolds’ purchasers when they could not pay out their professional medical charges. The best way for the shoppers to get their cash again, he explained, would be for Reynolds to be purchased to spend retribution at the conclude of his court docket circumstance. But the sheriff claimed it could consider many years for that to take place.
“He experienced a really decent issue going,” Gualtieri stated of the thefts.
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Reynolds pocketed as much as $148,750 from just one client in March 2019, in accordance to information provided by the sheriff’s workplace. He took at minimum $100,000 each individual from several purchasers. Gualtieri claimed the clients should have experienced critical accidents in buy to get six-determine settlements.
It is thought Reynolds made use of some of the revenue he stole to invest in medicines, Gualtieri said. He also reported Reynolds spent additional than $30,000 on the grownup articles membership web page OnlyFans, almost $400,000 on the electronic payment platform PayPal and far more than $24,000 on the ride-sharing application Uber.
Gualtieri said the sheriff’s workplace thinks there likely are a lot more clients whose income was stolen by Reynolds. He stated Reynolds often had conferences with his clientele, who ranged in age from more youthful to older individuals, at bars.
Reynolds was suspended by the Florida Supreme Courtroom in December 2022 as a consequence of the allegations, courtroom information exhibit. A summary of the suspension purchase posted on the Florida Bar’s internet site states Reynolds “abandoned his regulation practice without the need of see.”
Gualtieri claimed the Florida Bar by now had begun investigating statements made versus Reynolds before the sheriff’s place of work received its to start with criticism in October 2022.
That similar month, Reynolds posted a photo taken in Asheville, North Carolina, on his business Fb website page. Numerous of the feedback on the put up had been published by buyers declaring that Reynolds stole income from them.
Reynolds was booked into Pinellas County Jail Monday morning. Jail data show Reynolds faces 13 counts of grand theft, including 1 depend of grand theft from a particular person 65 a long time of age or older. He also faces two counts of income laundering.
He remained in jail Monday night in lieu of $395,000 bail, according to jail information.
Asked if Reynolds was cooperating with deputies, Gualtieri mentioned Reynolds “lawyered up” upon his arrest.
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