Former NC attorney sentenced to prison in wire fraud case

Former NC attorney sentenced to prison in wire fraud case
(WBTV graphic)

HENDERSONVILLE, NC (WBTV) - A former NC attorney was sentenced Friday to two years in prison after he embezzled client funds from his office's trust account and used the money for personal purposes.

Howard Trade Elkins, 44, of Hendersonville pleaded guilty in 2017 to wire fraud. According to the District Attorney's Office, Elkins, who had a private practice and served as an attorney for estates of deceased individuals, would deposit funds from estate clients into his law firm's trust account.

Elkins would then use those funds to "support his own lifestyle, to gamble, to make lulling payments to other victim clients and to satisfy potential debts and demands related to his legal work."

"Elkins' clients trusted him and relied on him to carry out his duties as their attorney. Instead, Elkins used his law firm's trust account as his personal piggy bank," said U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray.  "Elkins' misconduct is reprehensible and, more importantly, it erodes the public's trust in our legal system."

After he's released from prison, Elkins was ordered to serve two more years of supervised release.

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