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Press Release

Church Point Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

LAFAYETTE, La. –A Church Point woman pleaded guilty to stealing more than $197,000 from her employer over a five-year period, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

Michelle Dana Lavergne, 36, of Church Point, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard Haik for three counts of making and possessing a forged security, as part of a larger fraudulent scheme. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, from April 1, 2008 to April 30, 2013 Lavergne used her position at a Lafayette law firm to embezzle funds by writing checks to herself and another employee in various amounts ranging from $350 to $5,500. The checks totaled $197,371.53 over a five-year period. She worked at the law firm for 13 years as a financial secretary and paralegal. Lavergne had access to the business checks because of her position. She obtained pre-signed checks to pay bills or she forged the signature, so she could deposit the checks into her personal account.

Lavergne faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, forfeiture, and a $250,000 fine for each count.

The U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers P. Namie is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 30, 2015