Law Practice Management
Ex-Employee Pleads in $1M Law Firm Fraud and Fire
Posted Sep 17, 2009 1:14 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A former employee in the accounting department of a Maryland law firm has pleaded guilty yesterday to wire fraud and arson concerning a fire he allegedly set in order to try to cover up his embezzlement of a little over $1 million from its escrow account.
George Michael Perez, 33, could get as much as 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and 40 years for the arson when he is sentenced in January in the Maryland federal court case, says an FBI press release. The fire, which damaged adjacent property, reportedly did $800,000 or so worth of damage.
Perez, who worked for Wittstadt & Wittstadt in the Baltimore area, went on the lam at one point but was captured after the case was featured on the America's Most Wanted television program, reports the Daily Record.
He also pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of failing to appear at a court hearing, for which he could get as much as 10 years.
The firm is suing the bank from which Perez made the transfers from escrow to his own account, contending that it did so without authorization.
ABAJournal.com: "Ex-Law Firm Employee Accused of Embezzling $1M, Setting Fire to Office"