Former Memphis attorney pleads guilty to fraud

Scales of justice and wooden gavel. Justice concept

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A former Memphis attorney has pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud an estate she was originally appointed to serve, according to the Justice Department.

Leigh M. Chiles, 49, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. A federal grand jury returned an indictment in July 2022, and evidence was heard in court on March 17, 2023.

In September 2018, Chiles was appointed executor of an estate opened in Shelby County Probate Court. Her duties at the time were to collect estate assets and then distribute them to the heirs and beneficiaries.

The Justice Department said Chiles, in violation of her fiduciary duty, used about $124,000 in estate trusts to write checks to herself and pay off her personal credit between November 2018 and June 2019.

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A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 17, 2023. Chiles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release.

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