Former Freeland lawyer gets four years in prison

Peter Allen Moote, a former attorney in Freeland, was sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling about $2 million from clients from 1990 until 2011.

The 64-year-old man pleaded guilty in March, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez last week in Seattle. Moote admitted he embezzled client funds through a fraud scheme in which he represented clients with personal injury, sexual harassment, discrimination and other civil suits. He negotiated settlements on behalf of his clients and would accept settlement checks for his clients, only to transfer the money into his personal or firm’s accounts. Moote resigned from the Washington State Bar in November 2010.

Martinez ordered Moote to pay restitution to his clients. The specific amount will be determined Dec. 7 at a hearing. A Department of Justice release said the Washington State Bar Association’s Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection has paid Moote’s victims about $800,000, thus far.

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