Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lawyer Who Was Bagged For Embezzling Over $160K From Disabled Client's Trust Fund Buys Her Way Out Of Criminal Prosecution; Authorities Drop Felony Charges After Defendant Repays Filched Funds

In Pineville, Missouri, The Joplin Globe reports:
  • The McDonald County prosecutor dismissed a felony theft charge against former Oklahoma attorney Betty Pitts-Cartwright [] in light of her recent restitution of the funds she embezzled from a disabled adult client and parked in a Southwest City bank.

    Prosecutor Bill Dobbs said Pitts-Cartwright, 63, of Grand Lake, paid about $164,000 in restitution to the client whose funds she embezzled and deposited in personal bank accounts in Southwest City and Jay, Oklahoma.

    Pitts-Cartwright and two other women were charged in 2014 in Delaware County, Oklahoma, with fraudulently obtaining a $1 million-plus house on Grand Lake from her former boyfriend, a Norwegian professional boat racer. Pitts-Cartwright also faced counts of perjury in the case that forced her resignation from the bar and eventually resulted in a suspended sentence.

    Her parking of the client's funds in a personal bank account at Cornerstone Bank in Southwest City got her charged with theft in Missouri.

    Pitts-Cartwright was in charge of the client's trust fund and reportedly used a rubber stamp bearing the name of the victim's mother to sign trust account checks. Her friend and co-defendant in the theft of the funds, Donna Cupp, told investigators that Cartwright opened the account at the Missouri bank "so people in Jay would not know her business."

    A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case stated that a majority of the withdrawals from the bank account were made from automated teller machines at casinos.

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