Former Tulsa Attorney Pleads Not Guilty To Stealing Money From Clients' Estates

Thursday, September 29th 2016, 6:11 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A former Tulsa Attorney went to court today, but this time facing charges of stealing money from an estate.

Federal prosecutors are prosecuting an attorney accused of using his access to estates and their bank accounts to pay his bills and support a drug habit.

Chris Mansfield pleaded not guilty in federal court to a charge of stealing more than a half-million dollars.

9/29/2016 Related Story: Former Tulsa Attorney Charged With Bank Fraud

The now former attorney was suspended from the bar over allegations he took money meant for his clients.

"He used the money for his own personal use, his own personal gain, his own personal benefit, to the tune of about half a million dollars," said IRS Special Agent Damon Rowe. 

The IRS and FBI handled the investigation and the U.S. Attorney is prosecuting the case, hoping to recover some of the money.

"When these people should have had something, a nest egg to rely on going forward, they absolutely got nothing," said U.S. Attorney Danny Williams. 

Prosecutors say Mansfield was a fraud, taking money from at least 11 clients, all of them estates he was appointed by the court to oversee.

The U.S. Attorney said Mansfield took at least $587,000 and spent the money on credit card bills and cocaine.

Though he walked out of court today, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine if he's convicted.

The U.S. Attorney said he is already negotiating with Mansfield to change his plea to guilty to avoid trial. 

"At the end of the day the lawyer still has to be honest, the lawyer still has to be honorable and not steal these people's money," Williams said. 

The courts are scheduling a hearing to change the plea.

The U.S. Attorney said he doubts full restitution would ever be paid in the case, but said he would pursue as far as the law allows.