Richard Breibart (palmettolegalsc.net)
Columbia, SC (WLTX)- A lawyer from the Midlands pleaded guilty to mail fraud Wednesday.
Richard Breibart, 62, extorted around $1 million from his clients, according to a plea agreement in federal court.
Assistant U.S. attorney Winston Holliday said those actions cost a South Carolina woman.
"This lady was getting a divorce. Breibart told her that her husband was in trouble and potentially that could effect her finances and that she needed to close out her account and give him the money," Holliday said.
So just how much money? Five-hundred thousand dollars. Breibart then used other clients money to pay her back $300,000, but now she's empty handed thousands.
She wasn't the only victim.
Lexington attorney Jack Duncan represents four out of the 13 victims in this case.
"It is very rare when you have such a mendacious and deceptive attorney practicing as he did," Duncan said.
According to Holliday, Breibart's clients won't receive much compensation, if any.
"Most of the assets that we found had liens on them," Holliday said. "The money just seems to have been gone supporting a lifestyle that was beyond him."
Breibart faces $250,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing will come later.
The Office of Disciplinary Council which handles lawyers lincensing is also looking into 75 other claims, according to Holliday.