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Former lawyer convicted of stealing $450,000 from her firm

A Henrico County judge rejected arguments that Kyle Leftwich’s diversion of social security fee checks should be viewed as no more than a civil dispute with her law firm.

Leftwich, a former associate with Marks & Harrison, endorsed Social Security checks made out to her for representing disabled clients, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. But instead of depositing the money into the firm’s account, she funneled it elsewhere and made false entries into the firm’s ledgers. The displaced funds were estimated to be around $450,000.

After an intern uncovered the discrepancies, Leftwich initially placed the blame on two assistants, but later confessed the theft in a phone call to firm president James G. Harrison III.

Leftwich was indicted on eight felony embezzlement charges in May.

Defense lawyer Craig S. Cooley argued that Leftwich’s misdeeds amounted to a breach of her employment contract, a civil matter which was resolved when she returned $450,000 to the firm.

Judge L.A. Harris Jr. disagreed, finding her guilty on all charges.

Leftwich, who surrendered her law license last fall, faces up to 160 years in prison. She will remain free on bond pending her sentencing in November.

– Sarah Rodriguez

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