Former Texas Law Firm Employee Sentenced For Stealing $1.6 Million

A San Antonio, Texas woman was sentenced Tuesday to 87 months in prison for fraud.

According to court documents, Irene M. Scott, 42, is a former bookkeeper and financial manager for a private law firm in San Antonio.  Scott worked for the law firm, Shelton & Valadez, between August 2011 and February 2020. 

Her duties included issuing business credit cards to employees and closing those credit card accounts when an employee separated from the firm.  She also maintained the firm’s financial ledgers and paid vendors and operating expenses. 

On May 25, 2021, Scott pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.  Scott admitted that from 2012 to 2020, she used three office credit cards assigned to other employees to make non-firm related purchases totaling over $1.2 million. An estimated three-fourths of those funds went to support her husband’s outdoor lighting business. 

She concealed on the firm’s financial ledgers credit card payments she made using the firm’s operating account.

Scott also stole an estimated $417,000 by fraudulently withdrawing from the firm’s operating account about 200 times during a two-year period beginning in January 2018. She disguised those withdrawals in the firm’s ledger as vendor payments. Scott committed these fraudulent acts without the knowledge or authorization of any member of the firm.

“The sentencing of Ms. Scott today should sound the alarm to those planning to steal from their employers with the idea that they are going to cook the books to hide their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “You will be investigated, identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”  

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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