Criminal Justice

Ex-office manager of well-known law firm hopes to repay $423K of $600K prosecutors say she stole

Add another conviction to the annals of trusted employees who took advantage of the law firms for which they worked.

Kelley Jo Hunt pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft in what prosecutors described as a scheme involving $600,000 or more she stole from Miller, Miller & Canby in Rockville, Md., while working there as office manager over a multiyear period, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports.

She has made restitution to the firm for $123,000 and plans to repay another $300,000, according to her lawyer, David Moyse. He said the money went to her family and for mortgage payments on a home with no equity. “There were no fur coats or fancy trips or extravagant items.”

Prosecutor Bryan Roslund told the court that the scheme dated back to at least 2008 and came to light when a report from a payroll vendor that normally went to Hunt instead was submitted to the law firm’s accounting department. It reflected that Hunt had been overpaid, and an investigation determined that she had inflated her wages, received unauthorized overtime pay and sometimes issued herself two paychecks instead of one. She used false bookkeeping entries to cover her tracks, the newspaper reports.

In a related Montgomery County Circuit Court civil case, the firm is seeking almost $575,000 that it contends is still owed by Hunt, plus punitive damages for fraud, the Post says. Moyse admitted in court Wednesday that his client took at least $425,000.

Founded in 1946, Miller, Miller & Canby specializes in land-use, trust and tax work. Multiple partners have served as president of the county bar association.

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