A former personal-injury attorney who stole countless dollars from clients’ settlements before leaving to Costa Rica was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles to 12 years in prison.Philip James Layfield, 48, aka Philip Samuel Pesin, was found guilty in August on 23 charges, including 19 counts of felony wire scams, one count of mail scams, one count of tax evasion and other charges, according to the U.S. attorney’s workplace in Los Angeles. After the verdict, he was remanded to federal custody.Layfield formerly owned and run a number of law firms in California, consisting of offices in Irvine, Los Angeles and El Segundo, together with Park City, Utah, and Scottsdale, Ariz.In 2016, Layfield represented a client who was left seriously hurt after being struck by a car in Orange County, according to the U.S. lawyer’s workplace. Layfield worked out a$3.9-million settlement for his customer but took around $2 million for his own individual usage and to pay other customers whose settlement funds he had actually misused, according to charging documents.The customer in the Orange County case got only$25,000, according to federal prosecutors. In
2016, Layfield stopped working to file a federal income tax return, despite getting$3 million, which included settlement cash he had actually embezzled from customers, authorities stated. He was likewise responsible for his law firm not paying approximately $121,000 in payroll taxes for the 2nd quarter of 2017. After he took millions from his clients’ settlement funds, Layfield transferred to Coto de Caza in Costa Rica.
Before he ran away, he requested a $700,000 loan from an organization loan provider with deceptive info, according to federal prosecutors who detailed Layfield’s criminal activities during a 13-day trial last year.Layfield utilized the bulk of the money from the loan for individual expenditures, including buying a horse and after that shipping other horses to Costa Rica, authorities said. He was jailed in New Jersey in 2018 after he returned to the United States and was disbarred in California later on that year.