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Late Lawyer’s Bookkeeper Indicted

Posted Aug 2, 2007 7:10 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A widow’s legal dispute with employees who worked in her husband’s Miami law office has taken a new turn.

The office manager and bookkeeper, Sara San Martin, has been charged with writing fraudulent checks on law firm accounts to pay off her mortgage and truck loan, the Daily Business Review reports. San Martin worked for maritime lawyer William Huggett, who died suddenly from a stroke in 2004.

Huggett’s widow filed two civil suits against ex-employees. One claims the workers improperly paid themselves $739,000 in bonuses and vacation pay after her husband’s death. Another claims a lawyer who worked in the office took Huggett’s cases to a newly formed firm. A judge ruled the attorney had the right to keep the cases, and that case later settled.

The widow’s lawyer uncovered evidence of the mortgage and truck payments and turned it over to the FBI.

Sam Martin’s former lawyer told the legal publication that San Martin is a scapegoat in civil litigation. Her new lawyer called her a “loyal and longtime” employee. "I haven't seen any evidence she took a dime that didn't belong to her, and to that effect we've pleaded not guilty to the charges against her," said the lawyer, Brian Tannebaum of Miami.

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