Harrisburg woman disbarred for allegedly stealing from the law firm she worked for in 2017
HARRISBURG — A Harrisburg woman accused earlier this year of breaking into, vandalizing, and stealing from the law firm that employed her has been disbarred, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday.
Nichole Ashley Collins was charged with burglary, forgery, access device fraud, theft by unlawful taking and other related offenses in January after police say she stole money from the Shafer & Engle Law Firm, where worked from June 2014 to September 2017.
Collins was terminated from the firm in August of 2017 after admitting that she had stolen money from the firm by writing checks from the firm to cash and cashing them.
In September 2017, police received notice that an employee of the law firm had been stealing from its “cost account” which had been set up so that attorneys employed by the firm could pay for items such as filing fees and court reporters for cases.
On November 20, the Attorney General’s office accepted a conflict on interest referral from the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office to assume jurisdiction of the investigation of Collins, who is married to the Deputy District Attorney Joel Hogentogler.
On December 7, a lawyer at the firm contacted police saying that files from his office went missing, including the file he had put together on Collins and her criminal acts.
Additionally, computer equipment was doused with an unknown sticky substance that made items unusable.
That substance was found again in other areas of the office building between December 23 and 27, causing a over $3,000 in damage to the property and equipment.
Additionally, an office employee said that her bag, which contained person credit cards, was stolen.
While investigating, police found that the law firms’ receptionist email account received an email on December 27 at 10:07 p.m. with a notification that a purchase for a $250 Seducer luxury rabbit vibrator and other sex toys were purchased with the stolen credit cards. The victim contacted her bank to alert them to the stolen credit card.
On December 28, the victim’s credit cards were attempted to be used at a Wendy’s in York, but it was rejected and the person then paid in cash. The Wendy’s employee gave a description of the suspect: a white female with blonde hair in her mid-thirties.
On January 3, officials met with a Bow Creek Financial representative that provided authorities with documentation of checks cashed by Collins, along with photographs of Collins cashing checks at the bank.
After further investigation, police found that Collins had a string of unlawful transactions and had unlawfully entered the law firm multiple times.
Collins’ law license was suspended by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Disciplinary Board on Feb. 24. She was disbarred on Monday.