U.S. Attorney: Former Hendersonville attorney sentenced after pleading guilty to wire fraud

(file photo | Associated Press)

Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced the sentencing of a former North Carolina attorney on Thursday night.

According to Murray, 44-year-old, Howard Trade Elkins was sentenced to 24 months in prison on wire fraud charges for embezzling client funds from his law office's trust account.

Elkins was an attorney with a private practice in Hendersonville, North Carolina. From 2012 to 2017, Elkins engaged in a scheme to embezzle from his law office's trust account, per the report.

According to court records, Elkins would deposit funds from estate clients, embezzle these funds, and use them to support his own lifestyle, such as gambling and to satisfy his potential debts.

Elkins pleaded guilty to wire fraud in November of 2017, per the U.S Attorney's Office.

"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. His misconduct is reprehensible and more importantly, it erodes the public's trust in our legal system," said U.S. Attorney Murray.

Elkins will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence upon designation of a federal facility.

This case was handled by the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attonery's Office in Asheville.

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