FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A local attorney is in jail accused of stealing his former partner's identity. Investigators say he stole nearly $1 million from clients. Sebastian Balliro was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Collier County but he didn't go peacefully.
WINK News has learned when investigators with the state attorney's office took Balliro into custody, he jumped out of a moving car with handcuff on to try and get away.
Balliro faces charges that could put him in jail for the rest of his life. That includes allegedly defrauding investors at the former Racks and Tails restaurant in Fort Myers.
"He was running around taking money from people, saying that he had scouted locations which I didn't believe," said Ruth Cohen, former employee of Racks and Tails.
Cohen says Balliro still owes her $800.
"He would buy from a company, whole sale food companies, they would sell to him and then he wouldn't pay the bill. He was never really buying from anybody because he was too busy screwing them," said Cohen.
The Florida Bar suspended Balliro in September 2011. Less than a year later, he was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Florida. Between October 2010 and April 2012, Balliro is accused of a list of crimes. The state attorney's office says he stole his partner's identity to buy cars, defrauded investors at pain clinics, a Wolfgang Puck franchise and the Racks and Tails restaurant. In all, investigators say he took more than $830,000.
"Its really not a weight off my shoulders but I'm really glad he's getting his due because people like him in the industry give a really bad name," said Cohen.
In addition to the charges in Lee County, Balliro will be charged in Broward County because of fraud and thefts related to his law practice there.