Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Atlantic Beach Attorney Charged With Embezzling From Bankruptcy Estate
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging William Reid Penuel (37, Ponte Vedra Beach) with embezzlement from a bankruptcy estate and making a false statement. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison on each count. Penuel was arraigned in federal court today and was released on a $50,000 bond.
According to the indictment, between March 2015 and July 2015, Penuel, while serving as the Chapter 7 Trustee in a business bankruptcy case, embezzled estate funds held in a BB&T bank account. The indictment further alleges that, on August 19, 2015, Penuel lied to an FBI agent when he claimed that he had transferred the estate funds to his account at Ameris Bank. In fact, Penuel did not have an account at Ameris Bank.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dale Campion.