White-Collar Crime

Attorney Facing 80 Felony Counts in Law Firm Embezzlement Case

A lawyer working as a paralegal at a small Fort Lauderdale law firm is facing over 80 felony counts in a case concerning her alleged embezzlement from Hermelee & Geffin and an attorney officed there.

Charged yesterday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court with crimes including grand theft and forgery, 53-year-old Brenda Wolcott-Kelly is being held in lieu of $116,000 bail. A New York lawyer, she was working as a paralegal at Hermelee & Geffin because she is not licensed in Florida, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

She is accused of stealing a six-figure sum and an investigation is continuing. However, her lawyer, Morgan Cronin points out that the law firm has also sued her civilly and says she is innocent, facing criminal charges he says were pursued in an effort to put pressure on the parties in the civil case.

Among other allegations, Wolcott-Kelly is accused of transferring over $82,000 from the firm to pay her husband’s credit card bills in 2008 and 2009.

Name partner Alan Geffin characterizes the situation as “heartbreaking,” the newspaper reports. He adds: “She was a valued member of the firm. She was treated like family. We attended her wedding.”

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