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White-Collar Crime

In-House Counsel, Accused of Stealing $9M By Paying Fake Law Firm Bills, Gives Himself Up to Police

Posted Jan 4, 2013 12:58 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A suspended New York lawyer who has been accused of embezzling $9 million while working as an in-house counsel in Houston gave himself up weeks ago at a Rhode Island police station, his lawyer says.

And when Anthony Chiofalo turned himself in, he also gave up something else, his lawyer, Paul Doyle, tells the Houston Chronicle—$150,000 cash, that Chiofalo wanted to return to his former employer, Tadano America.

The 51-year-old defendant "always wanted to cooperate, to make this right," Doyle told the newspaper. "When his wife was charged, it shocked him, and that caused him to run."

Chiofalo and his wife were indicted in June for felony theft. They are accused of bilking Tadano, a subsidiary of a Japanese company that manufactures cranes, of millions since November 2010 by creating fake law firms that Chiofalo then paid for fictitious legal work.

Alerted by the sudden deluge of litigation, as well as some big legal bills, the company investigated and eventually went to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Chronicle reports.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "In-House Legal Chief Is Accused of Creating Fake Law Firm and Sending It $9M in Payments"

ABAJournal.com: "Company’s Civil Suit Says In-House Legal Chief Used Fake Law Firms to Add Millions to $110K Salary"

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