Peter David Nitschke Can't Come Up with $1.2 Million He Ripped Off, Gets 12 Year Prison Ride

Peter David Nitschke kept things quiet at his latest hearing.
Peter David Nitschke kept things quiet at his latest hearing.
Courtesy of Irvine Police Department

When we last checked in on Peter David Nitschke, the 47-year-old suspended Newport Beach attorney and former church president who stole more than $780,000 from nine victims--including $720,000 from two elderly sisters he met at church--the judge agreed to cut the defendant's prison sentence significantly if he paid those he ripped back their money plus interest ($1.2 million total) by last Friday.

Well, that day came and went.

Guess where Nitschke's headed? (If you answered "to Rosarito Beach for a waiting Coco Loco," guess again.)

Peter David Nitschke, Suspended Attorney Who Ripped Off Clients, Has Hissy Fit in Court

Upcoming Events

Yes, even though the shamed ex-attorney claimed to have a line on the funds, Nitschke didn't come up with the money, so Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary Paer put the defendant on the hook for the full state prison ride: 12 years.

Deputy District Attorney Sean O'Brien reports Nitschke, who had his law license suspended in December, did not throw a hissy fit this time as he had at his latest hearing. It became so heated at the July restitution hearing that a bailiff had to stand over Nitschke.

"There was an indication from his attorney that he had nothing new to say so the judge said, 'Well, I guess I'll send you to prison now,'" O'Brien told City News Service of the latest hearing.

Paer, explaining he wanted to give the victims one more chance to get their money back, gave Nitschke a "drop dead" Aug. 8 deadline to produce the money at that July hearing, although the judge added, "I would be stunned if the money shows up; maybe this case can make history."

It didn't. Nitschke, whose law office was in Irvine, had wiped out the life savings of the elderly sisters he met as president of Lutheran Church of the Cross in Laguna Woods, where he often solicited clients from the congregation. After his arrest in September 2012, the other victims, mostly church members, came forward.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >