June 4, 2021

Caity Roach
Editor

Fraud Friday — Law Firm Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Stealing $1.7M from Employer

San Antonio private law firm, Shelton & Valadez, is the most recent victim of a popular bookkeeper fraud scheme that often results in a loss of millions of dollars and sometimes permanent closure of the business. 

In this case, the law firm’s bookkeeper and financial manager, Irene M. Scott, was given unmonitored control of the firm’s business accounts. Using her knowledge of the firm’s finances and her expertise as a bookkeeper, Scott was able to steal nearly $1.7 million from her employer over the course of 10 years. 

According to court documents, Scott gained the firm’s trust working as a legitimate bookkeeper in her first year of employment. Scott’s duties included issuing business credit cards to employees and closing card accounts for employees who left the firm. She also maintained the firm’s financial ledgers, paid vendors, and handled operating expenses. 

In 2012, Scott began using office credit cards assigned to employees or former employees to make non-firm-related purchases totaling over $1.2 million. Then, in 2018 she added to the scheme by slowly withdrawing an estimated  $417,000 in funds from the firm’s operating bank account.

To conceal the fraud, Scott used her professional expertise as a bookkeeper to disguise the fraudulent purchases and withdrawals as vendor payments. However, in reality, an estimated three-fourths of the stolen funds were being used to support her husband’s outdoor lighting business. 

Scott has pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud. Her sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on November 9, 2021.

Source:
Department of Justice

Previous Reporting on Bookkeeper Fraud:
Bookkeeper Gets 4 Years in Prison for Embezzling Over $1 Million from Medical Practice

Bookkeepers Embezzle Over $1 Million From Small Business Clients
Bookkeeper Gets 41 Months in Jail for Ripping off Employer
Bookkeeper Admits Stealing Over $300K From Physical Therapy Business
Bookkeeper Gets 5 Years for Ripping Off $3 Million, Forcing Company BK
Bookkeeper Gets 41 Months, Owner Gets 21 Months for Photoshopped Invoice Scam