Former Law Firm Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Forging Checks Totaling Over $500,000
NORFOLK, Va. – Diana L. Farmer-Forston, 54, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty today in Norfolk federal court to forging checks totaling more than half a million dollars on the account of a law firm where she formerly worked as an account manager and bookkeeper.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Farmer-Forston’s plea was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller. Farmer-Forston faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when she is sentenced on October 25, 2011.
In a statement of facts filed with her plea agreement, Farmer-Forston acknowledged that between July 2007 until February 2011, she forged the signature of a principal of the law firm Bennett and Zydron, P.C., on 210 checks totaling $567,075.16 that were drawn on a bank account of the firm. She made fraudulent entries into the account ledger to make it appear that the checks had been issued for legitimate purposes related to the business of the firm, and deposited the forged checks into multiple accounts that she maintained at Navy Federal Credit Union. Farmer-Forston used the embezzled monies for her own benefit, including to fund investment accounts, purchase a vehicle, electronic equipment and other items, pay her mortgage and other expenses, and lend money to a co-worker.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Virginia Beach Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Alan M. Salsbury is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.