Criminal Justice

Woman made up fake law firm to bilk employer, police say

A Wisconsin woman has been accused of bilking her former employer out of more than $91,000 in fake “legal fees” she charged to a fictitious law firm.

Beryl Allison Velguth, 51, is due in court in Milwaukee on Wednesday on felony theft charges, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Velguth, who had check-writing authority in her former job at Lutheran Social Services, created a fake law firm to which she wrote checks totaling $91,722 over a seven-month period, police say. The checks were deposited into a bank account bearing her name, doing business in the name of the fake firm, at her home address. Bank surveillance video captured Velguth conducting business using the account.

The alleged theft was discovered after Velguth’s employer hired an outside consultant to look for ways to reduce costs. He found bills from two separate law firms for the same case, including some from a “Howard Law and Legal Services,” which had no address or phone number and which the state bar had no record of.

Velguth left the agency on her own accord in April, telling co-workers she was leaving to attend medical school in Dominica.

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