When authorities decide to prosecute large financial crimes cases, they come prepared to win. Another case ended this week when a defendant changed her original plea - she now admits to taking money while working as comptroller for a small town.
Prosecutors said the defendant began taking money from the town's taxpayers in 1990. According to the guilty plea, the defendant ultimately took $53 million in an enormous theft scheme. It appears that she recorded fake billing invoices to justify payments - those funds ended up in another bank account.
The defendant apparently used the money from that account to finance her lifestyle for years, including a horse-breeding farm and a home in Florida. A coworker found the account and helped investigators develop an extensive case against her, including more than 60 counts of felony-level crimes. Now that she pled guilty, authorities plan to seek restitution on behalf of the city.
This case is a reminder of the enormous investigative resources available to government agencies. Prosecutors bring these kinds of large financial crimes cases only after they have prepared detailed and thorough allegations. While numerous constitutional safeguards exist to level the playing field and give individuals a fair chance to defend themselves, it can be very difficult to win when the other side comes equipped with the full resources of the state and national government.
In these large cases, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated track record of success. Effective representative can help defendants be just as prepared to respond to government allegations.
Source: NBC Chicago, "Ex-Dixon Comptroller Pleads Guilty in $53 Million Scam," Kim Vatis and Michelle Relerford, Nov. 14, 2012