Richard Breibart, who was accused of extorting $1 million from his clients, has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud charges according to court documents. The plea agreement was signed by Breibart and federal prosecutors before being filed in federal court in Columbia on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say that Breibart presented clients with false stories about potential penalties from the Internal Revenue Service and insisted they pay money into his law firm’s trust account to avoid criminal charges. Breibart then took the money out of his trust fund and used it to pay for personal and business expenses. The Indictment lists three victims who cleaned out their bank accounts, investments, and retirement savings to give to Breibart.
As part of the plea deal, Breibart’s attorneys and the government agreed that the number of victims in the case is at least 10 and that the total losses were less than $2.5 million.
Richard Breibart faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000, although prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lower sentence. He will also be required to make restitution payments.
Breibart was arrested last September and had been scheduled for trial later this year on charges of extortion, mail fraud, and wire fraud. He is now scheduled to formally enter his plea on August 28, 2013.