Criminal Justice

Paralegal admits embezzling $327K, secretly settling law firm claims

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A paralegal, office manager and secretary for a small San Francisco-area law firm has admitted embezzling more than $327,000 by secretly settling client claims and stealing the proceeds, as well as retainer payments, over a five-year period.

Ana Lissa Reyes also signed up clients without the firm’s knowledge, and established a separate company, LIncoln Litigation, to help conceal her activities at the Law Offices of Brian Ching, according to the Bay Area News Group and the Castro Valley Patch.

She pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion in federal court in Oakland, Calif., and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Reyes, who is also known as Lizzette Reyes, had worked at the firm since 1995. She was fired in June 2011 when her activities were discovered, says a federal criminal complaint filed against her last year.

Ching was disbarred in 2012 for allowing unauthorized settlements in three personal injury cases and failing to prevent the embezzlement of almost $50,000 in a total of four cases, the Bay City News article reports.

Hat tip: 7th Space.

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