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Press Release

Reedsburg Attorney Sentenced to 45 Months for Embezzlement Scheme

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

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Kristin Lein, 61, Reedsburg, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 45 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for wire fraud, money laundering, and filing a false tax return.  Lein pleaded guilty to these charges on June 14, 2023.  

The government’s investigation revealed that Lein, a licensed attorney in Wisconsin, engaged in a fraud scheme in which she stole $1,643,818 from a client’s trust accounts.  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. 

The investigation revealed that Lein used the embezzled funds to pay personal expenses, including improvements to her residence in Reedsburg and to purchase multiple vehicles, including a 2019 F-250 pickup truck, a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, and a 2020 Mahinda tractor.  Lein also admitted that she failed to report the income she obtained from the embezzlement on her 2019 personal tax return.   

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Conley stated that it was hard to overstate the level of betrayal the defendant’s client endured as a result of the embezzlement scheme.  Judge Conley noted that Lein violated her ethical obligations as an attorney in “stunning ways.”  Judge Conley stated that the evidence showed that the defendant had lost her moral compass and the result was an “unspeakable loss” for the client.   

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. 

Updated September 7, 2023

Financial Fraud