Duluth lawyer gets prison for misusing escrow funds

Duluth lawyer gets prison for misusing escrow funds

A Duluth lawyer was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for using thousands of dollars from real estate transactions for personal use.

Prosecutors said Neal Landers, 46, a closing attorney, did not distribute money transferred into his escrow account from several closings, beginning in 2007. Instead, Landers delayed paying out the funds for weeks and sometimes months, and used some of the money to pay individuals from previous closings.

Landers also transferred escrow funds to his business checking account and used that money to pay various personal expenses, prosecutors said.

“Landers violated the law and the trust of his clients when he used his firm’s escrow account as his own personal piggy bank,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement.

The attorney was sentenced to two years and three months, and ordered to pay $850,000 in restitution.

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