Local Attorney Sentenced on Federal Fraud charges
St. Louis, MO - STEPHEN B. EVANS was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $154,000 restitution on mail and wire fraud charges involving his failure to pay clients and expenses, and instead keeping client settlement funds for himself.
According to court documents, between 2007 and 2012, Evans was a local attorney with a general practice, including the representation of people who were injured or had claims based on contract or negligence where he would enter into a contingent fee arrangement. With such fee arrangements, Evans would receive a certain percentage of any successful settlement, with the rest to be paid to the client and to pay the client's expenses. Insurance companies mailed settlement checks to Evans at his law firm's address. The checks were typically made payable to Evans and the client. As part of his fraud scheme, Evans often falsely represented to his clients that he was withholding a portion of the settlement funds for use in paying medical or similar expenses. On many occasions, Evans kept and spent those funds. Evans' scheme resulted in fraud losses in excess of $150,000.
Evans, St. Louis County, pled guilty in January to one felony count of mail fraud and one felony count of wire fraud. He appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Jean C. Hamilton.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of attorney disciplinary authorities in Missouri and Illinois. Assistant United States Attorney John Bodenhausen handled the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.