Criminal Justice

Longtime legal secretary charged in $1M theft, accused of blowing $500K at off-track betting parlor

A trusted longtime legal secretary is accused of embezzling over $1 million from a Connecticut law firm since 2008—and allegedly blowing some $500,000, in recent years, at an off-track betting parlor in New Haven.

Barbara Kalpin is charged with two counts of first-degree larceny and 112 counts of second-degree forgery, according to the Associated Press and the Connecticut Law Tribune.

The now-former employee forged a Grady & Riley partner’s signature on law firm checks written to herself and doctored entries in its computerized accounting records to make it appear as though they had been legitimately issued to third parties, a Waterbury police spokesman told the legal publication. Irregularities discovered in May while she was on medical leave led to an investigation and the criminal case.

She allegedly used law firm funds to cover her personal credit card bills and to obtain cash for financing multiple mortgages. Police say her credit card bills show multiple off-track betting charges.

Kalpin’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment from the Law Tribune.

Grady & Riley is now being investigated by legal ethics authorities to see whether it properly supervised Kalpin, after self-reporting the situation in May to the Statewide Grievance Committee, according to founding partner Francis Grady and Patricia King, who serves as the state’s chief disciplinary counsel.

All sums missing from the firm’s clients’ funds account, which amounted to nearly $700,000, were restored as soon as partners were aware of the loss, Grady said.

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