Local Police Reports

8 Year Prison Sentence for Oak Lawn Woman Charged with Stealing More Than $850,000 from Chicago Law Firm

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 14, 2011.  The former office manager of a Chicago law firm was sentenced to 8 years in prison yesterday after she plead guilty to stealing more than $850,000 from the firm, using a large portion of the money to dine daily at a downtown lunch club, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Joan M. Sanchez, 53, of Oak Lawn, plead guilty to one count of Class 1 Theft for embezzling a total of $884,299 from the Chicago law firm of Kelly Olson Michod Dehann & Richter, L.L.C. where she had worked for 24 years.

According to prosecutors, the thefts began in October of 2002 and continued through April of 2009.  Sanchez wrote a total of 234 unauthorized checks totaling $884,299 from the firm’s business account without the knowledge or consent of her employers.

Investigators said that 176 of those checks, totaling $836,500, were written by the defendant, made payable to herself.  The remaining 58 checks, totaling $47,799, were written by the defendant and made payable to a lunch club at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The law firm discovered the scheme while Sanchez was on vacation in Hawaii and a $40 reimbursement check drawn from the firm’s bank account bounced, even though the firm’s internal ledger, which had been doctored by the defendant, showed that the account contained a significant amount of money.  The firm then contacted police and an investigation was initiated by the Chicago Police and the State’s Attorney’s Financial Crimes Units.

Cook County Judge Diane Cannon sentenced Sanchez today after she plead guilty during a court hearing and she was immediately taken into custody.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the Chicago Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit for their efforts in the investigation as well as Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Trutenko and investigators from the Special Prosecutions Bureau for their handling of the case.

Source: statesattorney.org