Police: Woman used settlement check to steal from law firm
WEST PITTSTON, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman accused of using an account number from a settlement check she received from the death of her son to steal from a law firm and pay her utility bills will face criminal charges.
Michelle Shepard, 44, of New Milford, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of access device fraud, criminal use of a communication facility and theft, reported The Citizens’ Voice. Shepard was held on $7,500 bail. No attorney information was available.
Shepard received a “very sizeable” settlement check from Cefalo & Associates following death of her son in a 2010 car crash, prosecutors said.
Shepard’s son, Brett Sterling, and Alex Hinkley were both killed when their vehicle hit a tree. Sterling and Hinkley, who were both 18-years-old at the time, were drinking at Shepard’s home before the crash, according to police.
Shepard made one payment to an electric company using an account number that was linked to the firm’s escrow account, police said. She tried to make two other payments after the first one was returned, according to investigators.
The activity caused the escrow account to be overdrawn, attorney Michael Cefalo said. Cefalo expects the state Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board to contact the firm as a result.