Criminal Justice

Bad coffee leads to embezzlement case against law firm worker

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A really bad cup of coffee that burned the lips of a Wisconsin law firm worker resulted in a criminal case against a co-worker who is now accused not only of tainting the beverage with a foreign substance but embezzling from her employer.

Kay Lee Gysbers was released on a signature bond after being charged with forgery, embezzlement and placing foreign objects in edibles, the Pierce County Herald reports. She is accused of stealing more than $10,000 from an unidentified Rice Lake firm by forging checks to herself, her mother and her sister.

The newspaper says further investigation after a state crime lab analysis determined the cup of coffee was tainted resulted in the Barron County theft case against Gysbers.

Meanwhile, a former office manager and paralegal for a Missouri law firm was charged last week with stealing $28,000 from her ex-employer and a former New Jersey law firm worker has pleaded guilty in a six-figure theft case.

Kari Love was fired in 2010 by her boss, attorney Bruce Galloway, after being accused of stealing from an unidentified Missouri law firm in the Ozark area. She was charged in the Christian County case after an audit that showed over $28,000 had apparently been used to pay her personal expenses, KY3-TV reports.

On Wednesday, a former paralegal for a Morris County, N.J., law firm tearfully admitted stealing $126,374 from Valentino & Dunne and took a plea in a one-count theft case, the Daily Record reports.

The prosecution is expected to recommend a three-year prison term when Kathleen Dawes is sentenced next month. Although she did not serve as the law firm’s bookkeeper, she told the court she had access to its trust account books and issued herself electronic checks from the account.

Insurance is expected to cover most of the firm’s loss.

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