From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Ex-secretary to plead guilty to embezzlement:
Shelia Mae Boone, accused of embezzling thousands from a dead woman’s estate through the lawyer she worked for, is scheduled to plead guilty today in federal court.
The lawyer she worked for, Harvey Latney Jr., works part time as the commonwealth’s attorney of Caroline County.
Boone, a Caroline resident, had been scheduled for trial next week. She was indicted in August by a federal grand jury on two counts of bank fraud and one of aggravated identity theft.
She is scheduled to plead guilty under the terms of an agreement with federal prosecutors.
The indictment alleges that she deposited two forged checks into a Wachovia Bank account, one written for $86,786.54 in September 2002 and one for $185,000 in January 2005.
Both checks were drawn on an account holding money from the estate of Florence C. Williams, who died in 2002.
Latney was the executor of the estate. Boone was the only employee in Latney’s law practice in Richmond.
Boone is charged with bank fraud for the two alleged forged checks and with identity theft for allegedly using Williams’ name on them.
Authorities said Latney was “totally taken aback” when authorities discovered the missing money. That was after authorities started to investigate complaints from the Williams family about how long it was taking to settle the $420,000 estate.
Authorities have said they believe Boone kept Latney from seeing letters about the Williams estate and replied to some of them herself, forging Latney’s signature. They think she erased some voice-mail telephone messages and accepted court summonses for Latney without telling him.
UPDATE: From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Lawyer’s aide pleads guilty to fraud:
Shelia Mae Boone pleaded guilty this afternoon to one count of bank fraud for embezzling money from an escrow account kept by Harvey Latney Jr., the lawyer she worked for.
Latney, besides having a private law practice, works part-time as commonwealth’s attorney for Caroline County.
Boone, 49, of Caroline, was charged in U.S. District Court with two counts of bank fraud and with one of agravated identity theft.
Under her agreement with the U.S. attorney, Boone pleaded to the single count and stipulated that the loss from her fraudulent actions is $92,930.42.
Boone, who was the only employee in Latney’s law practice, admitted writing checks drawn on Latney’s bank accounts maintained for clients. The activity started in 2004 and lasted at least until November 2006.
The maximum possible prison term for bank fraud is 30 years. Boone’s penalty will likely be much less at her sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 8.