Legal Ethics

Former Fla. Lawyer and Her Paralegal Charged with Stealing Client Funds

Last year, Jessica Miller blamed her paralegal, office manager and best friend, Kristen Collins, for the disarray in her law firm’s financial records that led Miller to give up her license to practice law in Florida.

Collins, on her side, said she paid firm and personal bills with client trust account funds, but blamed Miller for allegedly instructing her to do so, as an earlier post details. Amidst the finger-pointing, however, there was one thing they agreed on: The small Pasco County law practice didn’t have a financial ledger.

Now both women have been charged with felony grand theft for allegedly misusing some $72,000 in client funds, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

“In her arrest affidavit, Miller told investigators that in three years of owning her law firm, she never filed taxes, never kept payroll records and never checked her bank account balances—neither the operating or trust accounts,” the newspaper writes.

Miller was arrested this morning and released this evening, after posting $20,000 bail. Collins remains in custody. If convicted, the women face sentences of as much as 40 years in prison.

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