Former San Antonio Attorney Todd Prins Sentenced to Federal Prison for $2.4 Million Wire Fraud Scheme
In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced former San Antonio lawyer Todd Prins to six years in federal prison for a $2.4 Million fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
In addition to the prison term, Senior United States District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that the 52-year-old Prins pay $2,975,264 restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. Judge Ezra allowed Prins to remain on bond pending Bureau of Prisons facility designation. On June 28, 2017, Prins pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. By pleading guilty, Prins admitted that from August 16, 2013, to December 22, 2016, he defrauded multiple victims of their money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
“Ordinary Texans often put their trust in lawyers to help them navigate complex legal disputes. When a lawyer abuses that trust for personal gain, it undermines the integrity of our legal system. The misconduct in this case was simply outrageous, and the six-year sentence was amply deserved,” stated United States Attorney Bash.
According to court records, Prins led clients to believe that a lawsuit Prins filed on their behalf was successful, resulting in a judgment in their favor. To convince his clients, Prins fraudulently created forged court rulings, opinions and orders, purportedly issued by various state and federal courts bearing the signatures of the respective judges. Those courts included Bexar County District Court, the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits.
Furthermore, Prins caused an entity which had purchased real estate in a foreclosure sale conducted by Prins’ law firm to wire transfer approximately $2,400,000 to Prins’ law firm’s trust account. Rather than maintaining those funds in his trust account for proper distribution, Prins caused approximately $2,000,000 of that money to be wire transferred to another bank account he controlled. During October and November 2016, Prins misappropriated and converted to his own use approximately $800,000 of the $2,400,000. Prins, having improperly transferred the $2,000,000 from his trust account to his other account, falsely told a principal of his client-seller that the purchaser’s $2,400,000 was still in his trust account. To support that false claim, Prins fraudulently created and sent by e-mails and text messages what appeared to be screen shots of the trust account showing the balance in the trust account to be in excess of $3,000,000. In fact, the true balance of the trust account was less than $1,000, having been $2,041.17 prior to the receipt of the $2,400,000.
The FBI conducted this investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William R. Harris prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.