A Bay Area paralegal pleaded guilty to embezzling from her former employer, tax evasion, and mail fraud. She told a federal court that between 2006 and 2011, she settled claims and stole retainer fees. Neither the law firm nor its clients were aware she was doing this, nor were they aware that she had set up a bogus company in order to correspond with and steal from clients. She admitted to defrauding the law firm and its clients out of $327,795.05.
On January 25, 2013, the former paralegal was charged with five counts of mail fraud stemming from the fake company she had set up. Through the phony company, she told clients that their cases were still ongoing; however, she pocketed the money she had been receiving from them. She was also charged with six counts of tax evasion because she admitted that her income was substantially more than the amount she declared on her returns.
The woman is scheduled to be sentenced in October of 2013 in an Oakland federal court. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and restitution for each count of mail fraud. Additionally, she faces six years of imprisonment, restitution and a fine of $250,000 for each count of tax evasion.
Federal prosecutors can be more intimidating than the charges themselves. Those under investigation for federal crimes might benefit from aggressive legal representation. Those facing charges on the federal level may face sentences than they would on the state level. A knowledgeable federal criminal attorney might be able to negotiate with the prosecution in order to have the charges reduced or even dismissed.
Source: LoanSafe.org, "Bay Area Paralegal Faces Years in Prison for Stealing Over $327K from Employer ", Evan Bedard, July 10, 2013