Former Memphis attorney pleads guilty to wire fraud scheme

Leigh Chiles
Leigh Chiles(Action News 5 Archives)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:06 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Former Memphis attorney, Leigh M. Chiles, 49, has pleaded guilty in connection with a scheme to defraud an estate over which she was appointed to serve as executrix.

United States Attorney Kevin G. Ritz announced the guilty plea Friday.

According to U.S. Attorney Ritz, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Chiles in July 2022.

Based on the charges and information presented in court, Chiles, currently of Little Rock, Arkansas, appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Annie T. Christoff and entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.

In September 2018, Chiles was appointed to serve as executrix over an estate opened in Shelby County Probate Court. In connection with her duties, Chiles was responsible for collecting estate assets and distributing them to heirs and beneficiaries.

In violation of her fiduciary duty, Chiles used approximately $124,000 in estate funds to write checks to herself and to pay her personal credit card between November 2018 and June 2019.

A sentencing hearing is currently set before United States District Judge John T. Fowlkes, Jr. on July 17, 2023, where Chiles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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