Criminal Justice

Paralegal Used Forged $285K Law Firm Check to Take Private Jet to NYC for Spending Spree, Police Say

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A paralegal at a Newport Beach, Calif., law firm allegedly stole a check for $19,500 written to her employer, had the amount altered to over $285,000 and then made the check payable to her roommate.

After the check was deposited into a joint account for paralegal Alexa Johzen Polar, 34, and elementary school teacher Robin Antonella Pabello, 33, authorities say, the two friends flew to New York City with friends in a chartered jet and went on a spending spree, according to the Los Angeles Times and the Murrieta Patch.

However, it wasn’t all about bling: In addition to shopping at Montblanc and Tiffany & Co., the two also allegedly used two fraudulently obtained cashier’s checks to make a $233,000 deposit toward purchasing a $3.7-million, 11,000-square-foot home in Murrieta, Calif.

It isn’t clear how they might have expected to qualify for a mortgage or make payments, but Detective Greg Faessel of the Cypress, Calif., police, whose department investigated the case, said the women simply wanted a luxurious home in which to spend the holidays and hoped to rent it prior to closing.

The party ended when the bank on which the $19,500 check was drawn rejected it for payment, authorities said. The two women had to return to California on an ordinary coach flight and are now being held in the Orange County case in lieu of $285,000 bail each.

If they make bail, they must prove the source of the funds.

The articles don’t include any comment from the women or their attorneys. The defendants are charged with forgery, grand theft and grand theft by embezzlement.

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