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Former Law Firm Office Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Money in hand

Summary: Kelley Jo Hunt, the former office manager for Miller, Miller & Canby has pled guilty to fraud after taking more than $500,000 from her former employer. 

The former office manager of a Rockville law firm issued a guilty plea on Wednesday to theft, according to The Washington Post. Kelley Jo Hunt reported stole $603,560 from the firm across a handful of years.

The office manager was able to issue herself undetected raises in her salary. She could spend 25 years in prison when she is sentenced in September. She will likely receive less time in prison due to her efforts to repay the money, her clean criminal record and the state’s sentencing guidelines.

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She has repaid $123,000 to Miller, Miller & Canby so far and is planning to repay $300,000 more in the near future.

Hunt’s defense lawyer, David Moyse, said, “The only meaningful expression of remorse, at this point, is action.”

Hunt spent most of the money on her family and for payments on a house that was worth less than what was still owed on it.

“There were no fur coats or fancy trips or extravagant items,” Moyse said.

Hunt was able to keep the fraud undetected for years by using an outside payroll vendor and reviewing reports sent to the firm from the vendor.

One of the reports sent back to the firm “went to another staffer, somebody in the accounting office of the law firm,” according to prosecutor Bryan Roslund.

The report showed that Hunt received $5,000 too much. She was confronted by managers and told them it happened in the previous pay period too. She said she only had to repay $10,000 and denied taking any more money.

“Unfortunately,” Roslund said, “that proved essentially to be the tip of the iceberg.”

Court documents show that Hunt was fired by the firm after the initial overpayment was found.

The scheme began as early as 2008. She was able to inflate her own salary, give her unauthorized overtime pay, and created two checks for herself for one pay period. Roslund said that the total take from the scheme was $481,754. She also took $121,805 from the firm’s flexible spending account.

The firm is asking for $573,467.11 from Hunt and punitive damages for the fraud committed.

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