Criminal Justice

Former Legal Assistant Gets Time for Writing Checks for Own Expenses on Law Firm Trust Account

A former office manager and legal assistant for a downstate Illinois law firm has pleaded guilty to federal mail-fraud charges of stealing $150,000 from Erwin Martinkus & Cole over a 10-year period.

Laura R. Tholen is expected to be sentenced in September to a stipulated 21-month federal prison term and must pay restitution of a little more than $66,000 to the Champaign-based law firm, the News-Gazette reports .

According to prosecutors and the indictment, Tholen handled a client trust account for a family law attorney at the firm and wrote more than 100 checks from the account for her own personal expenses.

As detailed in earlier posts, such thefts by trusted employees are not a rarity:

Law Firm Bookkeeper Accused of Embezzling $567K, Allegedly Put 210 Forged Checks Into Own Account

Ex-Office Manager’s Theft of Over $1M from NJ Law Firm Forced Layoffs, Partners Say

Former Office Manager Gets 33 Months in Club Fed for Stealing $1.1M from NJ Law Firm

Despite Partner’s Protest, Ex-Bookkeeper Gets Deferred Adjudication in Alleged $32K Law Office Theft

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