MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Kristin Lein, 60, Reedsburg, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty today in District Court in Madison to wire fraud, money laundering, and filing a false tax return. Lien is a licensed attorney in Wisconsin.
At the plea hearing, Lein pleaded guilty to an information that charged her with stealing $1,643,818 from a client’s trust accounts. According to the information, in June 2019, Lein began transferring money from several accounts belonging to the client’s trust to her own personal bank account. During a telephone call on February 2, 2022, Lein and the beneficiary of the trust discussed financial matters. During the telephone call, Lein told the beneficiary that the trust balance was over $1,800,000. However, Lein knew that the actual amount of money held in the trust was significantly less due to her embezzlement of funds. Lein continued to embezzle money from the trust accounts until the funds were depleted in September 2022.
As part of the plea agreement, Lein admitted that she used the embezzled funds to pay personal expenses, including improvements to her residence in Reedsburg and to purchase a pickup truck. Lein also admitted that she failed to report the income she obtained from the embezzlement on her 2019 personal tax return.
The maximum penalty for the wire fraud charge is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for the money laundering charge is 10 years in prison. The maximum penalty for filing a false tax return is three years in prison. U.S. District Judge William M. Conley scheduled the sentencing hearing for September 7, 2023, at 1:00 p.m.
The charges against Lein were a result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner is handling the prosecution.