A personalized injuries law firm accused of stealing a lot more than $840,000 from clients was arrested Monday by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced in a news conference.
Christopher Michael Reynolds, 44, of Pinellas Park, opened his private practice in Seminole in 2015 and generally represented clients injured in automobile crashes. According to Gualtieri, at the very least 16 clients had their circumstances settled, then experienced their revenue stolen by Reynolds.
In accordance to info delivered by the sheriff’s workplace, the initially known instance of Reynolds stealing income from purchasers was in December 2018.
When shoppers to start with retained Reynolds as their law firm, he constantly responded to any inquiries or considerations they experienced, Gualtieri reported. But in excess of time, Reynolds’ responses to shoppers turned rare and ultimately stopped solely. Some clientele would then simply call their insurance policy firms owing to climbing health-related expenses. Their insurance coverage firms would convey to them their circumstances experienced been settled.
The sheriff’s workplace initially realized of the allegations final Oct, when 1 of Reynolds’ shoppers noted that her insurance plan company advised her that her lawsuit had been settled months before for $100,000, Gualtieri said. But the girl claimed she hadn’t been given the dollars.
Investigators learned that Reynolds had cast the woman’s identify on lawful files and gathered the settlement cash, in accordance to the sheriff’s place of work, but he did not use it to pay her professional medical costs.
Gualtieri claimed a lien was filed towards yet another 1 of Reynolds’ shoppers when they could not spend their healthcare payments. The ideal way for the clientele to get their income back, he explained, would be for Reynolds to be requested to pay retribution at the end of his court docket circumstance. But the sheriff said it could just take several years for that to occur.
“He had a quite first rate matter likely,” Gualtieri said of the thefts.
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Reynolds pocketed as a great deal as $148,750 from one particular customer in March 2019, according to facts presented by the sheriff’s business. He took at the very least $100,000 each and every from several customers. Gualtieri reported the customers should have had major accidents in buy to get six-figure settlements.
It is thought Reynolds applied some of the dollars he stole to invest in drugs, Gualtieri reported. He also mentioned Reynolds invested much more than $30,000 on the adult content subscription web site OnlyFans, just about $400,000 on the electronic payment platform PayPal and additional than $24,000 on the journey-sharing application Uber.
Gualtieri reported the sheriff’s business office thinks there possible are additional clients whose funds was stolen by Reynolds. He reported Reynolds often had meetings with his purchasers, who ranged in age from younger to more mature folks, at bars.
Reynolds was suspended by the Florida Supreme Courtroom in December 2022 as a outcome of the allegations, court documents display. A summary of the suspension buy posted on the Florida Bar’s site states Reynolds “abandoned his law apply devoid of detect.”
Gualtieri reported the Florida Bar presently had started investigating claims created from Reynolds prior to the sheriff’s business been given its very first grievance in October 2022.
That similar month, Reynolds posted a image taken in Asheville, North Carolina, on his small business Fb page. Several of the remarks on the post have been written by end users saying that Reynolds stole dollars from them.
Reynolds was booked into Pinellas County Jail Monday early morning. Jail data present Reynolds faces 13 counts of grand theft, together with 1 count of grand theft from a person 65 yrs of age or older. He also faces two counts of dollars laundering.
He remained in jail Monday evening in lieu of $395,000 bail, in accordance to jail documents.
Asked if Reynolds was cooperating with deputies, Gualtieri mentioned Reynolds “lawyered up” upon his arrest.