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Dallas, Texas News

Dallas Law Firm Controller Pleads Guilty to $1.48 Million Payroll Inflation Scheme

A law firm controller pleaded guilty Tuesday to inflating her payroll amount by $1.48 million over the course of just three years,  announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Christiane Kathleen Irwin, 44, was indicted in March 2022. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Toliver.

According to court documents, Ms. Irwin, who worked for a law firm and was responsible for submitting payroll each week, falsely inflated her salary, which was set at approximately $140,000 annually.

In accordance with her fraudulent payroll submission, the firm’s payroll vendor transferred her purported pay from the firm’s bank account into her bank account every two weeks.

Over the course of three years, from 2019 to 2021, Ms. Irwin took home $1.48 million in fraudulently obtained funds.

She now faces up to 20  years in federal prison. Her sentencing date is slated for Jan. 3, 2024. Irwin has agreed that the loss amount to the firm for restitution is over $1.48 million.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nashonme Johnson and Jenna Rudoff are prosecuting the case with the help of Financial Auditor Sheila Powell.

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