A former Frederick solo attorney who was disbarred in 2009 pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday to mail fraud and filing a false tax return.
Richard A. Brennan, who lost his law license for misusing money clients paid him for debt reduction services, now faces prison time and owes $3.2 million in restitution, according to the plea agreement.
Brennan ran several businesses that claimed to offer debt management and settlement services, when in fact his employees had no training or experience in the field and were not qualified to evaluate clients’ financial problems, according to court documents.
As part of the scheme, carried out between October 2007 and April 2010, Brennan and his employees would mail or email their clients contracts authorizing Brennan’s businesses to take money from clients’ accounts, according to the indictment. Instead of putting these funds into a trust account, they were instead deposited into one account, which was used to fund “lavish personal expenses, including several luxury vehicles, international travel, exotic firearms, and furnishings for his residence.”
Brennan’s sentencing is set for Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. According to the plea agreement, the parties will jointly request a prison sentence of 42 months. The maximum sentence for mail fraud is 20 years imprisonment, three years of supervised released and a $250,000 fine. For the tax offense, the maximum is three years in prison, a year of supervised released and a $250,000 fine.
According to the plea agreement, Brennan will pay $2.9 million in restitution to the mail fraud victims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also recommending that the court order him to pay $297,087 in restitution to resolve tax liabilities from 2006 to 2008.