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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Disbarred Atlantic Beach Attorney Sentenced For Embezzlement

Jacksonville, Florida – Senior United States District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. has sentenced William Reid Penuel (38, Ponte Vedra Beach) to six months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzlement from a bankruptcy estate. While on supervised release, Penuel must serve six months of home detention, and participate in ongoing drug testing and treatment. He was also ordered to pay $151,239 in restitution.

On March 15, 2016, Penuel pleaded guilty to embezzlement. According to the Florida Bar, in April 2016, he was disbarred from practicing law.   

According to court records, between March 2015 and July 2015, Penuel was serving as the Chapter 7 Trustee in a pending business bankruptcy case in Tallahassee when he embezzled estate funds held in a bank account in Duval County. At the time, he was a licensed attorney whose office was located in Atlantic Beach. After becoming the Chapter 7 Trustee for the debtor, Penuel assumed responsibility for approximately $909,000 in estate funds, which he deposited into his bank account. Penuel began diverting estate funds, which had been authorized by the bankruptcy court to pay certain expenses, to his own use. As the authorized signor on the estate bank account, Penuel made withdrawals and then re-deposited the monies into other accounts that he controlled. Once the funds were placed into his operating account, Penuel withdrew the funds. The scheme involved approximately 20 withdrawals from the estate bank account, totaling approximately $151,239.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Jacksonville Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dale Campion.

Financial Fraud
Updated June 22, 2016