Ponte Vedra Beach attorney indicted for embezzlement



A 37-year-old Ponte Vedra Beach resident, attorney William Reid Penuel, has been indicted on charges of embezzlement from a bankruptcy estate and making a false statement, according to information received from the office of United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III.

Penuel was admitted to practice on May 19, 2006, after graduating with a Juris Doctor degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. His private practice, with offices in Atlantic Beach, advertised the following areas of law; personal injury, divorce and separation, corporate and incorporation, wills and living wills.

Penuel was arraigned in federal court today and was released on a $50,000 bond. 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. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison on each count.

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.

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.