Acworth ex-attorney pleads guilty to stealing from elderly clients

A former Acworth attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his elderly clients.

Officials say 63-year-old Anthony Eugene Cheatham handled real estate transactions and elder law and managed trust accounts for his clients.

According to investigators, from as early as 2012, Cheatham used money in the trust accounts to pay his own bills, wrote checks to himself and family members, and paid people who had already borrowed money. The former lawyer then used photo documents and excuses to hide his actions, officials said. Some of his victims had more than $100,000 stolen from them.

“Mr. Cheatham violated his position of trust as an attorney, and even more egregiously, did so against elderly clients,” ADA David Williamson said in a statement.

The victims in the case have been fully paid back. Cheatham has since been disbarred.

Cheatham pleaded guilty to racketeering, unlicensed practice of law, six counts of theft, and four counts of elder exploitation. He has been sentenced to 20 years, with one year to serve. Because he has been in custody for more than a year, he's expected to be released on time served.

Cheatham also has been banned from practicing law ever again and cannot act as an agent, trustee, fiduciary, or work in any position where he is responsible for the care or finances of any other person.