CHICAGO — A former paralegal for a Chicago law firm has pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge for embezzling more than $600,000 from bankruptcy estate accounts.
BECKY LOUISE SUTTON fraudulently embezzled the funds from 2009 to 2018 while working on bankruptcy matters for the law firm. Sutton admitted in a plea agreement that she embezzled money from more than 40 bankruptcy estate accounts and several liquidating trust accounts in Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 matters on which she worked. Sutton orchestrated fraudulent transfers of bankruptcy funds from fiduciary bank accounts intended for creditors to accounts she controlled, including her personal bank account, credit card account, student loan account, and mortgage account. In one instance, Sutton used a company with a name similar to a true creditor to disguise her fraudulent diversion of the funds. Sutton admitted in the plea agreement that her conduct victimized not only the creditors, but also her law firm, a partner at the firm for whom she worked, and the U.S. Trustee Program, among others.
Sutton, 67, of Austin, Texas, and formerly of Park Forest, Ill., pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2023, to a charge of wire fraud. The conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland set sentencing for April 2, 2024, at 11:00 a.m.
The guilty plea was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Trustee Program. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kartik K. Raman.