Former Memphis lawyer pleads guilty to wire fraud

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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, pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud. A federal jury returned an indictment in July 2022 and evidence was heard in court on March 17, 2023.

In September 2018, Chiles was named executor of an estate opened in Shelby County probate court. His functions at the time consisted of collecting the estate’s assets and then distributing them to the heirs and assigns.

The Justice Department said that in violation of his fiduciary duty, Chiles used approximately $124,000 of estate funds to write checks to himself as well as pay his 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 probation.

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