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Local attorney pleads in BP fraud case

An Oxford attorney pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges Monday afternoon at the Federal Courthouse in Oxford.

Tyler Smith, 46, was indicted in January by a federal grand jury for convincing lenders to provide him loans on false material representations.

He was scheduled to go to trial today but changed his plea to guilty on Monday before Senior Judge Neal B. Biggers.

Smith pleaded guilty to devising a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.

He would get wealthy lenders to lend him money by claiming to have cash coming in from BP claims resulting from the 2010 BP oil spill, when in fact, they did not exist.

The government claims Smith received $200,000 from at least one person via wire services.

He failed to repay the loans.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12 at the federal courthouse in Oxford.

According to state sentencing guidelines, Smith could face up to 20 years in prison.

Smith will remain out on bond until the sentencing hearing.