Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Akron Woman Sentenced to Over Two Years in Prison for Stealing $350,000 from Law Firm Where She Worked

Spent Portion of the Stolen Funds at Casinos

An Akron woman was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for stealing more than $350,000 from clients of a law firm where she worked, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Catherine Chenoweth, age 56, of Akron, Ohio, pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud. She used at least some of the money she took on gambling trips to casinos in West Virginia, according to the information.

Chenoweth worked for several years as a paralegal for a law firm located in Uniontown, Ohio, until January 2010, when her employment was terminated. During this period, Chenoweth’s duties primarily involved performing work for the Uniontown law firm’s estate and probate clients, according to court documents.

Chenoweth had access to client bank account and other financial information as part of her day-to-day responsibilities; she was required to conduct business transactions for clients or at their request, and she had access to checks, passwords, and other information for this purpose, according to court documents.

She used her position to defraud the firm’s clients of approximately $351,700 by forging or misdirecting checks drawn on client accounts and by making false representations to clients about her own financial situation. Chenoweth then made personal recreational use of the money she stole, including spending it at casinos located in West Virginia, according to court documents.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Akron Resident Agency and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Lutzko.

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