|Yeah, I stole your cookies, and I’ll send you a bill.|
Just when you think you’ve read everything a dishonest paralegal with access to a lot of money can do (the last one allegedly modified a few zeroes on a firm check and hired a private jet to go live the sweet life in NYC), along comes another one charged with theft, who also had the cahonas to bill for her services.
In terms that are easy to understand if you’re still feeling fuzzy from New Year’s Eve or can’t quite get back into the swing of things after the holidays, it’s like stealing cookies and then submitting a bill for stealing cookies.
According to phillyBurbs.com, police in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, say that a paralegal hired to administer several estates not only stole over $143,000, but also collected over $33,000 in administrator’s fees from the estates as well.
Wow, if that’s true, she made way more than I did last year.
The paralegal’s prior criminal record allegedly shows multiple DUI charges – and that she is still awaiting trial on the most recent one. To add to her legal woes, on December 22, 2011, she was arrested and charged with theft by deception, theft by failure to dispense funds, and receiving stolen property, due to the alleged thefts from the estates she was hired to administer.
What this news article does not mention is whether the paralegal was connected with a law firm or had a supervising attorney. A quick Google search does turn up a website (which doesn’t appear to be fully functioning) for a freelance paralegal business owned by a woman with the same name. She states she has over 27 years of legal experience, started her own business in 2004, and is a “certified paralegal.”
A LinkedIn profile for a paralegal of the same name also links to the same freelance paralegal site, but doesn’t state the basis for her use of the word certified. The profile states she has 31 years of experience, and works on bankruptcy, personal injury, and estate cases.
This case is particularly bothersome because it demonstrates the worst case scenario that can occur when anyone can call herself a paralegal and be turned loose on the public – certified or not.