October 17, 2017

New Haven bankruptcy lawyer gets 5 years in prison for embezzlement

A former New Haven lawyer who admitted to stealing more than $3 million from clients, including at least 10 businesses going through bankruptcy, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Peter Ressler, 70, of Woodbridge, who was a partner in a New Haven bankruptcy practice, pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud, two counts of embezzlement from a bankruptcy estate, and one count of bankruptcy fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said Ressler took $3.4 million from dozens of clients, saying he would hold it in trust in anticipation of their pending bankruptcy reorganizations. Instead, he spent the money for other purposes, including personal living expenses and to pay back other clients from whom he took money, prosecutors said.

The total includes "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from at least 10 businesses going through Chapter 11 reorganizations, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello sentenced Ressler on Oct. 13 to 63 months in prison and ordered him to repay more than $4.8 million. The figure includes the money he stole plus additional money owed to more than 60 other clients.

Ressler was arrested in April 2016, a month after he resigned from the Connecticut bar.

Natalie Missakian can be reached at news@newhavenbiz.com

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