Utah estate planning atty. pleads guilty to embezzling $9.5M from clients

Calvin Curtis (inset), LinkedIn; gavel, Pxhere

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 16, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City estate attorney Calvin Curtis has pleaded guilty to embezzling at least $9.5 million from clients, a Department of Justice, District of Utah statement says.

Curtis,’ who worked from Law PLCC and Curtiselderlaw.com in Salt Lake City, has pleaded guilty to two federal charges involving wire fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed to recommend a sentence of 73 months in federal prison, according to the DOP Utah statement. Sentencing is set for March 15 of next year.

“In the plea agreement, Curtis admitted that he is an attorney who specializes in special
needs trusts and that beginning in January 2008, he began a fraudulent scheme to defraud a client known as ‘G.M.’ out of money,” the statement says. “Curtis admitted that due to his role, he had access to millions of dollars in two different trust accounts belonging to victim G.M. and that he transferred at least $9,500,000 intended for the care of G.M. into his own accounts and then used this money for his own personal use.

“Curtis admitted that he also created fake financial statements and submitted these to the court ordered conservator of G.M. to conceal the fraud.”

In pleading guilty to the wire fraud charge, Curtis admitted that on Jan. 25, 2018, that
he caused a wire communication from a Schwab Investment Account to his own Wells Fargo account, resulting in a transfer of $1,485,000. Curtis admitted that he used the money for his own personal benefit to make mortgage payments on his combined home and office located on South Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Utah; to support a lavish lifestyle with frequent travel; to purchase tickets to basketball and football games; to give lavish gifts to others; and to support the operations of his law firm.”

In pleading guilty to the money laundering count, “Curtis admitted that he fraudulently
caused $135,000 to be transferred online from G.M. to his own Wells Fargo account, and that he used these funds to wire $95,000 to The Fechtel Company for the remodel of his home in Tampa, Florida. Curtis admitted that he knew these transactions were illegal at the time they occurred, and that the money was not used for the benefit of G.M.”

At this time, it is alleged that Curtis embezzled funds from at least 22 additional trusts in
amounts more than $9,500,000. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this crime is encouraged to call the FBI at 801-579-1400 to file a report.

“Defrauding vulnerable and elderly adults is a reprehensible and greedy act that is
deserving of federal prison time,” Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez said in a prepared statement.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting and holding those accountable who defraud elderly and vulnerable clients. Our concern is with the victims of these crimes and their ability to obtain basic needs moving forward.””

Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI also released a statement:

“Calvin Curtis’ greed had devastating consequences for his clients, who placed their trust
and money in his hands. Sadly, financial fraud cases like this are not limited to a few victims.  We hope this case sends a strong message that the FBI will do what it takes to make sure such crimes don’t go unpunished.”


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