SPRINGFIELD, MO-- A southwest Missouri attorney faces up to 33 years in federal prison after admitting he stole more than $586,000 from clients of his Joplin legal practice.
The U.S. Attorney's office says 58-year-old Daniel Whitworth pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements on tax returns.
Complaints to the Missouri official who investigates lawyer disciplinary issues led to an investigation by law enforcement officers.
Investigators found that Whitworth repeatedly took money from and for his clients, telling them the funds would be used to resolve pending legal issues. Instead, investigators said, Whitworth put the money in his own accounts, then used it for personal expenses.
Whitworth also admitted failing to pay taxes on part of the stolen funds.