Former Myrtle Beach lawyer Brunty pleads guilty to conspiracy charge

Former Myrtle Beach lawyer Mark Brunty could spend a maximum of five years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to a felony conspiracy charge related to a phony investment scheme that took more than $1.5 million from a pair of out-of-state investors.

Brunty pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge last week in Florence. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped five additional wire fraud charges against the former lawyer. In addition to the prison sentence, Brunty could receive a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of probation following his release. Brunty also has agreed to pay full restitution in an amount that will be set at his sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled.

Brunty, who was suspended from his law practice in November 2012, will remain on $25,000 unsecured bond pending his sentencing hearing.

An indictment in the case does not specify how the fraud took place, but information in the document is identical to charges Brunty faced in a civil lawsuit filed last year by brothers Morris and Saul Kravecas.

In that lawsuit, the Kravecas brothers alleged Brunty forged the names of Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. President Jim Apple and Alec Elmore, the vice president of First Federal Savings & Loan in Charleston, on documents used to persuade the brothers to invest in phony business deals. When the deals failed to materialize, the brothers learned that Brunty had used the money for personal expenses, according to the lawsuit.

The brothers obtained a $1.5 million judgment against Brunty and his law firm in December for actual and punitive damages.

Contact DAVID WREN at 626-0281 or via twitter at @David_Wren_