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Ex-lawyer to go on trial for bank robbery

Elliott sentenced in federal court for bilking clients

Dec. 15, 2010

Waukesha — A former Summit lawyer, who already has been sentenced to prison for fraud for bilking his clients out of more than $3 million, will go on trial in May for allegedly robbing a Wales bank in June.

Peter T. Elliott, 62, will go on trial under a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, though a court-appointed psychiatrist reported his findings do not support the special plea.

Elliott was evaluated by Dr. John Pankiewicz, a forensic psychiatrist. Elliott was in court Monday, and despite Pankiewicz's findings, Elliott's attorney, Steven P. Cotter, informed Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge James Kieffer that Elliott wants to maintain the special plea at this time, according to court records.

Kieffer set a jury trial to begin May 24.The trial will be broken into two parts - one to determine if Elliott was not mentally competent at the time of the bank robbery and the second part would be the bank robbery incident itself.

Elliott is accused of stealing about $9,500 from Town Bank June 12, possessing a firearm in a school zone and carrying a concealed weapon on July 22.

According to the criminal complaints:

Elliott is alleged to have walked into Town Bank with his lower face and nose covered and announce: "This is a hold up" and made indications he had a weapon, according to the criminal complaint.

On July 22, a deputy arrested Elliott after seeing a car in the Kettle Moraine High School parking lot that matched the description of the car used in the bank robbery and the person in the car matched the description of the bank robber. A .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun was found in the car, the complaint said.

Under questioning by authorities, Elliott admitted to robbing the bank and said he used about $2,600 of the money to get his daughter's vehicle out of hock and the rest went to pay utility bills and living expenses, according to the criminal complaint.

Federal case

Elliott was a practicing lawyer from June 1974 through October 2008 and in connection with his law practice maintained a trust account. Elliott diverted $3.6 million in funds from the account for his personal use, according to the federal criminal complaint.

Elliott was sentenced Nov. 4 in federal court to five years in prison to be followed by five years of supervision. He was also ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution.

The former attorney admitted his role in the fraud case early on and entered a guilty plea to one of four charges filed against him. Federal prosecutors said Elliott "wanted to be loved and give his children things to show his love so that is why he did it," according to the minutes of the sentencing.

The attorney for Elliott said his client does not admit to anything happening in Waukesha County, court minutes said.

Federal judge Rudolph T. Randa said this was one of the larger fraud cases he had seen and Elliott "violated the special position that one holds as an attorney," according to the minutes.

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