reporting on the suspended lawyer turned bank robber. Apparently this new career path is working out even less well than his former profession at least in terms of longevity. This is reporter Mike Johnson's report:
"A suspended lawyer awaiting sentencing in federal court for bank fraud for bilking millions from a trust account has been charged with robbing the Town Bank branch in Wales on June 12. Peter T. Elliott, 62, of Summit is accused of taking $9,516 during the robbery, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
In a separate case, Elliott is charged in Waukesha County with possession of a firearm in a school zone and carrying a concealed weapon. According to criminal complaints filed against him, Elliott was arrested July 22 by a sheriff's deputy who had responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot at Kettle Moraine High School in Wales.
The deputy saw Elliott in the car and believed there was a 'strong possibility' Elliott was involved in the robbery, court documents state. Elliott looked like the suspect in bank photographs taken on the day of the robbery and Elliott's vehicle matched the description of the car the robber used, records state. The deputy searched Elliott's vehicle and found a silver handgun in a pouch on the back of the passenger side front seat, according to the complaint.
[ . . . ] Elliott allegedly admitted robbing the bank but said he did not have a gun with him during the heist. Two bank employees, though, told investigators that Elliott said he had a gun during the robbery, which occurred minutes after noon June 12 at the bank branch on Summit Ave. in Wales. After taking the money, he told them to lie down and the floor and count to 500, the complaint says. One of the tellers told investigators that Elliott said, 'I have an accomplice watching you from the parking lot. If you try anything, we'll both be back.'
Elliott told investigators robbing the bank was 'quite easy' and that he used $2,600 of the money to get his daughter's vehicle out of hock, the complaint says. He used the rest of the money to pay past due utility bills and for living expenses, the complaint says.
He also told detectives that he had a federal criminal case pending for stealing $2.5 million from a trust account, the complaint says. In the federal case, Elliott has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 25. He faces a maximum prison term of 30 years. Three other bank fraud counts filed against him are expected to be dismissed at sentencing as part of a plea bargain. He was charged in July 2009 in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.
[ . . . ] Elliott became a lawyer in 1974 and, as part of his practice, maintained an Interest on Lawyers Trust Account at Associated Bank. That is an account in which an attorney holds funds for clients. The funds can be used only by or on behalf of the client.
In the late 1990s, Elliott began to occasionally use the trust account for personal purposes, the document says. Over 10 years, Elliott diverted about $2.5 million out of the trust funds for himself, according to the document, which does not say how the money was spent. To cover his withdrawals, Elliott operated a check-kiting scheme in which he would write checks from his personal Wells Fargo account and deposit them into the trust account at Associated Bank, the document says.
Elliott would withdraw money out of the trust account for himself and then stop payment on his personal Wells Fargo check, the document says. In four weeks in fall 2008, Elliott deposited and stopped payment on 57 checks totaling $35 million, according to the document. However, Elliott is suspected only of taking $2.5 million for himself.
Elliott's law license was suspended in January by the state Supreme Court after he refused to participate in an investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, according to documents. In the Waukesha County cases, Elliott appeared in court on Wednesday and asked for a court-appointed attorney. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 16."
The check kiting scheme makes my head spin, did Elliot actually have money in the "personal accounts" from which he wrote checks to the IOLTA account?