Law Practice Management
Bookkeeper Accused of Stealing $176K from Florida Law Firm
Posted Jul 21, 2010 10:57 AM CST
By Martha Neil
In the latest report of an alleged theft from a law firm by an employee trusted with access to its funds, the office manager and bookkeeper of a Clearwater, Fla., law firm has been accused of stealing $176,000 from her employer of six years.
Questions were raised about Kerry Sue McCallister-Higgins, 34, after her boss at the Golson Law Firm discovered she had written $34,000 in firm checks to herself, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office tells WTSP, a CBS News affiliate.
An investigation by the sheriff's office revealed another $12,000 in firm checks written to McCallister-Higgins herself and $130,000 in firm checks that went to pay credit card issuers and other third parties. She was an authorized signer on the law firm's corporate checking account, the article notes.
Charged with grand theft and briefly jailed, the ex-employee was released after posting a $50,000 surety bond, reports the St. Petersburg Times.
In addition to credit card bills, the $175,000 went to pay for home improvements, student loans, supermarket and restaurant bills, hotels in Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando and Disney World, rental cars, hair-dos and a cell phone among other personal expenses, according to the Times and the Tampa Tribune, which rely on information from the sheriff's office.
The articles don't include any comment from McCallister-Higgins or her counsel.
An earlier ABAJournal.com post rounds up some of the other actual and alleged six-figure law firm thefts by trusted employees that have been reported on in recent months: