Moote faces five-year term

Under a plea agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend that a former Freeland attorney who embezzled more than $1 million from his clients be sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

Peter Moote, 63, pleaded guilty March 26 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a single count of mail fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 22.

The plea agreement was filed last week in the U.S. District Court.

The document states that Moote is facing an advisory sentencing guideline range of 63 to 78 months.

Under the plea bargain, prosecutors will recommend the lowest sentence of 63 months.

Prosecutors estimated that Moote will owe restitution to his victims of “less than $2 million, with credit for any amounts already paid.”

A receivership has been set up in Island County Superior Court to divide his current assets, though the amount is far less than what he owes his victims.

Moote started stealing from his clients in the 1990s and didn’t stop until February of 2011, the document states.

Moote settled civil cases without notifying his clients and stole the settlement money, all the while telling his frustrated — and in some cases, disabled — clients that their cases were ongoing.

Moote resigned from the state bar association in lieu of disbarment in 2010.

Moote used the money he stole to pay gambling debts, as well as regular household and business expenses, according to court documents.

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