Law Practice Management

Law Firm Manager Gets 41 Months for Embezzling $1.3M


Sentenced yesterday by a federal judge in California to 41 months for embezzling $1.3 million from the law firm at which she formerly worked as office manager, Regina Schenck blames a “demeaning” climate at Diepenbrock Harrison and a “horse addiction” for fueling her crime.

In a presentence letter to U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton, the 46-year-old Schenck describes a downward spiral in which she began stealing from the firm in order to buy better horses and equipment after being told that her oldest daughter could potentially be an Olympic-level rider, reports the Sacramento Bee.

“My only comfort came from being around horses,” she writes. “They became my misguided attempt to buy the love of my family. I began to take money from the firm to finance the expense of keeping and showing our horses.”

A trusted longtime employee, Schenck also reportedly gave herself a $30,000 annual raise and better benefits by altering records in the law firm’s computer system.

In addition to serving prison time, she must pay restitution of $1,635,449.90, which includes $264,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. She pleaded guilty in September to computer fraud and filing a false tax return.

Hat tip: Legal Pad.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Manager Gave Herself $30K Raise, Stole $1.3M from Law Firm, Feds Say”

Recorder: “Former Law Firm Manager Gets 41 Months for Embezzling $1.3 Million”

Updated on Nov. 19 to link to Recorder article.

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