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Press Release

Former Attorney Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Scott Loren Steever was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $283,689.16 in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit money laundering, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.  The sentence was handed down on October 25, 2017, by the Honorable Edward M. Chen, U.S. District Judge, following Steever’s plea of guilty to the charges.

According to the plea agreement, Steever, 60, of Rohnert Park, Calif., admitted that during the course of the offense, he was a licensed attorney and was working in a law firm with his co-defendant, Robert Anderson.  In 2009, the law firm became financially distressed and experienced persistent cash flow problems.  Between November 2009 and August 2012, Steever and his co-defendant took funds from a client’s trust account, used those funds to pay the firm’s expenses, including payment of Steever’s and his law partner’s draws, and later misrepresented that those funds were still held in a trust account for the client’s benefit, even though all of the funds had been spent.  As a result of the scheme, the client suffered a net loss of $210,189.16.  

A federal grand jury indicted Steever on December 18, 2014, charging him with one count of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h); six counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1347 and 2; and one count of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 1957 and 2.  On November 18, 2016, Steever pleaded guilty to the two conspiracy counts and the remaining charges were dismissed.    

In addition to the prison term, Judge Chen also sentenced the defendant to a 3-year period of supervised release.  Further, for losses caused by his offenses and other misuse of client funds entrusted to his former law firm, Steever agreed to pay, and Judge Chen ordered Steever to pay, restitution to the client in the amount of $210,189.16, and restitution to two other victims in the amounts of $45,000 and $28,500—for a total of $283,689.16 in restitution.  Steever will begin serving his prison term on January 8, 2018.

On March 9, 2016, Robert Anderson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Judge Chen has scheduled Anderson’s sentencing for December 13, 2017.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chinhayi Cadet is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Patricia Mahoney.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.  

Updated October 31, 2017