Former Belleville Attorney Indicted in Federal Court
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois
Lauren Barry, Public Affairs Officer
Man Accused of Embezzling Over $1 Million from Law Firm and Clients
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A federal grand jury returned an eleven-count indictment charging a former attorney for multiple instances of wire fraud in which he is alleged to have embezzled more than an estimated $1 million from a Belleville law firm and its client trust account.
Jason R. Caraway, 49, is facing 11 counts of wire fraud. If convicted, Caraway could face up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines per count.
“Attorneys have a duty to protect their clients’ interests and must be held to the highest ethical standard,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Those who are overcome by greed and use their professional positions to embezzle from their employers and steal from innocent people will answer to the rule of law.”
Caraway was a partner at Caraway, Fisher & Broombaugh, P.C., a personal injury law firm in Belleville. According to the indictment, Caraway had control of the firm’s bank accounts and misappropriated funds by improperly spending client funds on personal and business expenses, issuing checks to himself, accepting settlements without client notification or payment, failing to pay medical lienholders from legal proceeds, and misapplying retainers without authorization.
“A lawyer, as an officer of the legal system, should demonstrate respect for our laws and protect the interests of the clients he represents,” said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “When a lawyer chooses to enrich himself by stealing client funds, the FBI will work to hold him accountable.”
The indictment outlines 11 alleged situations in which Caraway embezzled funds. In two instances, Caraway is accused of forging the signature of two St. Clair County judges on phony court documents to further his fraud scheme.
An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
FBI Springfield Field Office led the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Weinhoeft is prosecuting the case.
Updated December 21, 2023