SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 2, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) – Salt Lake City attorney Eric Singleton pleaded guilty Monday to federal bankruptcy fraud.
A statement released by the Utah Department of Justice, District of Utah, says Singleton entered the guilty plea as part of a deal.
“In the plea agreement, Singleton, 56, admitted that, from May of 2016 until September of 2017, he made false statements to the United States Bankruptcy Court, the bankruptcy trustee, and his clients, to facilitate his fraudulent scheme to embezzle money from client trust accounts and spend the money for his own personal use,” the DOJ District of Utah statement says.
“Singleton carried out the fraud by advising his clients … to transfer over approximately $288,000 to Singleton, which were proceeds from the sale of their properties, for Singleton to pay his attorney’s fees of $22,000 and to hold the remaining amount of $266,00 in his client trust accounts. Singleton advised his clients that he would hold the money for safekeeping to ensure that the money would not be taken by collections.
“Singleton then advised his clients he would return the money to his clients after the completion of bankruptcy proceedings. Singleton then spent the $266,000 for business
and personal use.”
After Singleton had taken the $266,000, he filed three separate bankruptcy proceedings
for his clients in the United States Bankruptcy Court, the statement says. During these bankruptcy proceedings, Singleton falsely stated to the court and the trustee that these individuals had less than $50,000 in assets, despite the fact that (the clients) had transferred over $266,000 to Singleton prior to the filing of these bankruptcy cases.
After that, Singleton filed his own bankruptcy case “in a continued effort to hide and conceal that he had embezzled $266,000 from his clients and then spent the money for business and person use,” the statement says.
Singleton faces up to five years in federal prison. He will be sentenced Oct. 18.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys in the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Utah and is being investigated by Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.