BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The runaway lawyer who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of his clients’ money pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Summit County Court.
One of the main points of contention in the plea deal for Royal “Scoop” Daniel was an issue over intent.
Daniel says he never wanted to take money from his clients. He says that after contemplating suicide, he left the country to try to regain the necessary funds.
Daniel’s attorney said in court on Tuesday that the financial issues started in 2006 when a major client went bankrupt, leaving Daniel with major money issues. He shuffled money around to different bank accounts and finally, in 2007, decided to “walk away.”
Daniel left the country in April 2007, and many in Summit County originally suspected foul play. Then it was discovered that he had lost all the money that belonged to clients before his disappearance.
“I’m perfectly prepared to plead guilty to acts that as a consequence caused (the victims) to be deprived permanently of something of value,” Daniel said.
Daniel told investigators he had been doing Internet work in Mexico before trying to walk back into the country late last year.
As part of his plea deal, he will have to pay the victims a total of $462,000 in restitution and he faces anywhere from probation to as much as 12 years in prison.
“We do believe justice was served here,” said Summit County Chief Deputy DA Scott Turner. “It gives us an appropriate range of punishment for the crime he committed.”
Daniel will be sentenced in mid-April, which will be almost five years from the day he disappeared.
CBS4 spoke with a few of the victims over the past couple of days and they told CBS4 they are not happy with the plea deal.