Former Chicago law firm paralegal charged with embezzling bankruptcy funds | USAO-NDIL

CHICAGO — A former paralegal for a Chicago law firm has been indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $600,000 from bankruptcy accounts.

BECKY LOUISE SUTTON fraudulently misappropriated funds from 2009 to 2018 while working bankruptcy cases at the law firm, according to an indictment released Wednesday in the U.S. District of Chicago. Sutton orchestrated the fraudulent transfers of bankruptcy funds from trust bank accounts intended for creditors to accounts controlled by Sutton, including his personal bank account, credit card account, student loan account and mortgage account, says the indictment. In one instance, Sutton used a company with a name similar to a real creditor to disguise his fraudulent misappropriation of funds, the indictment says.

The indictment charges Sutton, 66, of Austin, Texas, and formerly of Park Forest, Ill., with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of embezzlement from a debtor’s estate. The indictment seeks the forfeiture by Sutton of $611,263 in alleged criminal proceeds. The appearance in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago field office. Valuable assistance was provided by the US Trustee Program. The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Kartik K. Raman.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not proof of guilt. The accused is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which the government bears the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each count of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, while each count of embezzlement carries a maximum sentence of five years. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal law and US sentencing guidelines.

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