HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A woman has been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly embezzling $4.4 million dollars from a Huntsville law firm she worked at, according to court documents.
Court records show that Anna Michelle La Rue worked as the office manager for an unnamed Huntsville law firm, referred to as LAW FIRM 1, from about November 2009 to November 2021.
That law firm, identified as “Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, LLC.,” provided the following statement to News 19:
Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, LLC brought in third-party auditors in 2021 to investigate the actions of a former employee. Sadly, the audit uncovered evidence that demonstrated a former employee had abused a company credit card account and payroll account. Importantly, the months-long investigation and audit determined that the theft was limited to the two referenced accounts and did not involve funds held in trust on behalf of clients. All client funds and trust funds have been accounted for and verified.
In October 2021, the Firm began working closely with the Huntsville Police, the Madison County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI in pursuit of criminal charges. The Firm is grateful to those agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedication in bringing the former employee to justice.
In light of ongoing civil litigation and criminal charges, the Firm will refrain from further public comment.
As office manager, the indictment says La Rue was responsible for administering payroll and had access to the firm’s payroll account and was permitted to “conduct transactions involving LAW FIRM 1’s payroll account authorized by the partners.”
Starting in 2013 through about August 2021, the indictment shows that La Rue used her access to the payroll bank account to make unauthorized transfers of funds to her bank accounts. She concealed the transactions by making them alongside authorized payroll disbursements and not recording them in the firm’s records.
The court documents also say she used the money she transferred to her accounts to buy property, vehicles and other assets.
The indictment lists multiple items La Rue will have to forfeit if convicted, including:
- A sum of money equal to at least $4,418,827.66
- Real property located at an address in Cullman, Ala.
- 2020 Cadillac Escalade
- 2020 GMC 2500 Denali
- 2019 Lexus RC-F
- 2022 Centurion Ri265 boat
- 2021 Extreme Triple Axel trailer
- 2020 Montana HC377FL travel trailer
- 2018 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
- 2020 Polaris RZR XP
- 2016 Polaris ATV
La Rue was indicted by a grand jury on February 23 for 10 counts of bank fraud.