An attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud and filing false tax returns after stealing money from charitable trusts.
Earl Nelson Feldman, 76, of San Diego, admitted taking more than $1.6 million from trusts he controlled. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he hid the transactions by filing false tax returns.
Feldman, also an accountant, used the money for a variety of personal expenses. He paid his mortgage and taxes on his properties, bought vehicles and paid contractors for work on his home. He also moved money into his brokerage account and paid off credit cards, prosecutors said.
The attorney was disbarred in 2017 based on similar allegations.
Prosecutors said that once authorities caught on to his fraudulent activities, Feldman repaid more than $1.5 million. Per his plea agreement, he must repay the remaining $101,087.24 to more than 50 charities.
He also agreed to pay more than $575,000 he owes the IRS in federal income taxes.
Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division, said “Mr. Feldman violated his fiduciary responsibilities and abused his position as trustee.”
“Mr. Feldman’s greed victimized dozens of charities because the funds he stole were designated to be gifts to numerous other charitable organizations,” Korner added.
Feldman, out of custody on bond, is slated to be sentenced Feb. 28.
– City News Service
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