Whidbey ex-lawyer gets 4 years for embezzling

SEATTLE — A former Whidbey Island lawyer has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for embezzling about $2 million from his clients.

Peter Allen Moote, 64, practiced law in Island County for many years. He was accused of defrauding clients for more than a decade. Prosecutors alleged that Moote pocketed money that belonged to his clients through settlements he negotiated for them.

He used the money to pay for his personal living and law firm expenses. He also used the money for gambling, according to prosecutors.

Moote pleaded guilty in March to mail fraud.

A federal court judge ordered Moote to pay back the money. The amount is expected to be determined at a Dec. 7 hearing.

A receivership has been set up in Island County Superior Court to collect and divide Moote’s assets among his victims. About $800,000 has been paid back through a special fund for client protection through the Washington State Bar Association. Moote is no longer eligible to practice law in Washington.

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