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Press Release

Law Firm Bookkeeper Sentenced to 24 Months Imprisonment for

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

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A former law firm bookkeeper, who previously pled guilty to embezzlement charges, was sentenced last week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon.

Patricia Ethel Chinault, 72, of Apopka, Florida, was sentenced last Friday to 24 months in federal prison.  Chinault previously pled guilty to embezzling approximately $1 million from a Carroll County law firm.   Chinault, who previously lived in Carroll County, worked as a bookkeeper for the law firm.  After she moved to Florida in 2009, she continued to provide bookkeeping services for the firm.

Chinault, who had electronic access to the law firm’s accounts, used that access to fraudulently divert money to herself from 2010 to 2014.  Using investigative means, federal law enforcement agents became aware of suspicious activity on one of Chinault’s credit card accounts.  Further investigation revealed the extent of Ms. Chinault’s criminal activity.

Chinault spent most of the stolen money on internet gambling.  The Court ordered Chinault to pay restitution of $960,809.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.


Updated June 8, 2015

Financial Fraud