San Antonio attorney who allegedly looted client accounts of millions relinquishes attorney’s license

The San Antonio attorney accused of looting multi-million dollar accounts will no longer practice law.

Estate planning and personal injury attorney Christopher “Chris” Pettit has given up his attorney’s license rather than face disciplinary action from the Texas State Bar.

The Texas Supreme Court accepted Pettit’s resignation on Monday.

At least 14 lawsuits have been filed by clients who allege Pettit stole their money and mixed up accounts. He has held several positions for clients, including as legal counsel, investment advisor and trustee. He also prepared tax returns. Although he has denied the allegations in some complaints, he has also reached consent judgments – which include punitive damages – with a handful of clients.

The FBI investigated. The Internal Revenue Service also has its own investigation, according to a person familiar with the matters.

Pettit’s alleged scheme has unraveled in recent months, culminating last week with him and his company each filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Pettit’s motion lists $27.8 million in damages. assets and $115.2 million in debt, making it one of the largest personal bankruptcy cases ever filed in San Antonio.

Among the assets are several homes, including a 7,300-square-foot Disney World mansion listed for sale at $8.9 million and a home at 555 Argyle Ave. at Alamo Heights overlooking Olmos Dam. This is valued at $3.6 million. Pettit also owns two Porsches and two Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

On May 24, he filed a petition for the Supreme Court to accept his resignation. He gave no explanation.

The Texas State Bar’s Office of the Chief Disciplinary Board had detailed Pettit’s “professional misconduct” in a response, citing four complaints it had received.

One of the complaints alleged that Pettit was appointed trustee of a doctor’s irrevocable trust in 2019 and later assumed sole control of $11 million in assets. Pettit told the doctor the money would remain in an account at Charles Schwab & Co., invested prudently in bonds and cash.

In 2020, according to the complaint, Pettit transferred approximately $10.8 million to his accounts and/or his law firm’s accounts. He then converted the money for his own use, the complaint adds.

Pettit falsely told the doctor that the money had been transferred to the lawyer’s “estate management account” at Frost Bank.

“To support his lie, Pettit provided (the doctor) with an amended Frost Bank statement for the account … which appeared to reflect a balance in excess of $12,000,000,” the complaint adds. The doctor’s funds were not in the account and the money in it was far less than what was represented by the altered statement, according to the complaint.

Pettit reportedly reimbursed $8 million to the doctor, who sued in September when he did not receive the remainder owed to him. In March, State District Judge Laura Salinas signed a consent order ordering her to pay the doctor approximately $2.9 million in actual damages and $8.6 million in damages. punitive.

Pettit’s law license has already been revoked. He is now required to inform all his clients and the judges responsible for his cases that he no longer practices law. He must also return all files, papers, unearned sums and any other property of the client.

The Supreme Court actions set out terms for reinstating Pettit’s license of law, though that seems highly unlikely. He must return a couple more than $311,000 and pay the state bar $2,500 to reimburse them for costs and expenses incurred in their investigation.

Pettit’s bankruptcy petition lists approximately $106 million in unsecured debt, most of it held by customers. It disputes all unsecured claims.

He maintained his main law practice at 11902 Rustic Lane. He also has another office just over a mile away at 13111 Huebner Road.

A brief biography of Pettit on his law firm’s website indicates that he majored in economics at the University of Dallas. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University Law School. He taught law at Our Lady of the Lake University, the bio adds.

Pettit had served on the board of a publicly traded joint-stock company, EF EnergyFunders Ventures Inc., but resigned last month – a day after the Express-News reported on his growing legal troubles. EnergyFunders, an oil and natural gas investment firm, trades on a Canadian stock exchange but retains its executive offices in San Antonio.

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