Lawyer in embezzlement case says she was blackmailed with sex tape


FLINT– Authorities investigating a lawyer accused of embezzling money from four adults whose finances she was supposed to be managing have made several unusual discoveries in searching Shannon Pitcher’s home, storage units and the properties of her friends.

Among them were the cremated remains of a man who died in the 1970s found in the basement of one of her offices; hundreds of checkbooks from people under her legal guardianship; and $96,000 found buried in the backyards of several friends. Pitcher also told investigators that a man was extorting money from her to keep a homemade sex tape private.

Pitcher, 35, of Saginaw faces four felony counts of embezzlement of a vulnerable adult. The charges each carry up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000, or an order to repay up to three times the amount taken. She was released after posting a $100,000 bond.

Pitcher was appointed by the Genesee County Probate Court to oversee the affairs and finances of dozens of people incapacitated by age, disability or other factors. She has acknowledged being overwhelmed by her workload and "out of her league," according to a letter Sheriff Robert J. Pickell sent to the state Attorney Grievance Commission.

David S. Grant Jr., her attorney, confirmed that Pitcher told police that a man was blackmailing her by threatening to go public with a sex tape she was on. A Genesee County prosecutor called Pitcher’s claim "a bit far-fetched," but said that the authorities did seize a tape as part of the investigation.

Grant told the Flint Journal in a Sunday story that his client is "a wonderful person. I just don’t know what exactly happened."

He added that Pitcher does not have problems with gambling or drugs.

The investigation began when Genesee probate judges notified authorities that Pitcher had failed to file important documents related to the financial records of her clients, ages 17, 43, 90 and 93.

After Pitcher withdrew $100,000 from a Saginaw bank in October, authorities froze $144,000 in other accounts to which she had access. After sheriff’s investigators raided Pitcher’s office — and found hundreds of checkbooks on her desk — she told authorities about the cash in her backyard.

And in June, Pitcher was thrown in jail by a probate judge for contempt of court after failing to produce financial information related to a client she was later charged with embezzling from.

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