A Gettysburg attorney is accused of ripping off eight of her clients for more than $3 million. United States Attorney Peter J. Smith announced the filing of wire fraud and money laundering against Wendy Weikal-Beauchat, 46.
Smith says Beauchat was a member of a law firm located in Gettysburg until February 2012. According to the law firm website, Beauchat’s area of concentration was estate planning and long-term care planning.
Beauchat allegedly misappropriated client funds to pay for her business and personal expenses and concealed her fraudulent actions by providing clients with bogus Certificates of Deposit and IRS 1099 Interest Forms. The investigation is continuing in an effort to identify other clients who may have been victimized in Beauchat’s scheme.
The investigation is being conducted by Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations and the FBI.
“The IRS enforces the nation’s tax laws, but also takes particular interest in cases where someone, for their own personal benefit, has taken what belonged to others,” said Akeia Conner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. With both law enforcement and financial investigation expertise, our agents are uniquely qualified to assist with these types of cases by following
the money. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to bring our forensic accounting skills to this joint venture and help put a stop to this and other types of white collar crime.”
“When a lawyer, an officer of the court, defrauds clients, it’s a serious crime – and a heinous breach of trust,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko. “The FBI is committed to investigating financial schemes at every level, and working with our partners to hold white-collar crooks accountable.”
Beauchat faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted.