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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 21, 2022

Former Paralegal for Chicago Law Firm Charged With Embezzling Bankruptcy Estate Funds

CHICAGO — A former paralegal for a Chicago law firm has been indicted for allegedly 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 at the law firm, according to an indictment returned Wednesday in U.S. District in Chicago.  Sutton orchestrated the fraudulent transfers of bankruptcy funds from fiduciary bank accounts intended for creditors to accounts Sutton controlled, including her personal bank account, credit card account, student loan account, and mortgage account, the indictment states.  In one instance, Sutton used a company with a name similar to a true creditor to disguise her fraudulent diversion of the funds, the indictment states. 

The indictment charges Sutton, 66, of Austin, Texas, and formerly of Park Forest, Ill., with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of embezzlement from the estate of a debtor.  The indictment seeks forfeiture from Sutton of $611,263 in alleged criminally derived proceeds.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, 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.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Each wire fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while each embezzlement count carries a maximum sentence of five years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated April 21, 2022