Atlanta lawyer Nathan Hardwick IV’s former partner, Mark Wittstadt, took the stand Wednesday in Hardwick’s federal embezzlement trial and described how Hardwick ignited a crisis in July 2014 when he told Wittstadt that money appeared to be missing from their law firm’s escrow accounts.

Wittstadt ran the now-defunct residential real estate firm’s default operation from Baltimore with his brother Gerard Wittstadt, while Hardwick ran the closing operation from the Atlanta headquarters of the firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.