Controller Defrauds Law Firm Out of $1.5 Million by Inflating Salary

Learn about the fraudulent activities of Christiane Kathleen Irwin, a law firm controller who defrauded her firm of $1.5 million by inflating her salary. She now faces up to 20 years in prison.

The article titled “Controller Defrauds Law Firm Out of $1.5 Million by Inflating Salary” reveals the fraudulent activities of Christiane Kathleen Irwin, a law firm controller who pleaded guilty to inflating her payroll amount by $1.48 million over a period of three years. Ms. Irwin, responsible for submitting payroll each week, falsely inflated her salary and directed the firm’s payroll vendor to transfer the excess funds into her own bank account. As a result, she obtained $1.48 million through fraudulent means. She now faces the possibility of up to 20 years in federal prison and has agreed to repay the firm the amount she defrauded.

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1. Background

A law firm controller pleads guilty to inflating salary

In a recent case of financial fraud, a law firm controller has admitted guilt to inflating her salary. The controller, Christiane Kathleen Irwin, pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Toliver. This case highlights the importance of maintaining integrity and transparency in financial transactions within a professional setting.

Indictment and guilty plea details

The indictment against Christiane Kathleen Irwin was brought forth in March 2022. After careful investigation, it was determined that she had been inflating her salary over the course of three years, resulting in a substantial financial loss for the law firm she worked for. Her guilty plea to wire fraud solidifies her involvement in this fraudulent scheme.

Loss amount and sentencing date

The fraudulent activity conducted by Christiane Kathleen Irwin resulted in a total loss of approximately $1.48 million for the law firm. This significant sum of money highlights the severity of the financial fraud offense committed. Irwin is now facing potential legal consequences for her actions, including a maximum prison term of up to 20 years. Her sentencing date has been scheduled for January 3, 2024.

2. Fraudulent Scheme

Responsibilities of the controller

As a law firm controller, Christiane Kathleen Irwin was entrusted with the task of managing finances and overseeing various financial transactions. Her role involved submitting payroll information on a weekly basis, ensuring accurate and fair distribution of salaries among the law firm’s employees.

Falsely inflating salary

Irwin abused her position of authority by falsely inflating her own salary. Despite her salary being set at approximately $140,000 per year, she manipulated payroll submissions to reflect a higher amount. This deceptive practice allowed her to exploit the system and receive unauthorized financial gains.

Transfer of funds to personal account

Through her fraudulent actions, Christiane Kathleen Irwin orchestrated the transfer of funds from the law firm’s bank account to her personal bank account. By manipulating the payroll vendor, she successfully received the inflated salary payments every two weeks, accumulating a substantial amount of fraudulently obtained funds.

3. Duration and Amount of Fraud

Three-year period of fraudulent activity

Christiane Kathleen Irwin engaged in her fraudulent scheme over a span of three years. This extended timeframe allowed her to accumulate a significant sum of money through fraudulent means. The longevity of this fraudulent activity indicates a deliberate and sustained effort to exploit the law firm’s financial system for personal gain.

Total amount obtained fraudulently

Over the course of her fraudulent activity, Christiane Kathleen Irwin obtained approximately $1.48 million in illicit funds. This considerable amount of money exemplifies the seriousness of her actions and the financial harm inflicted upon the law firm. Irwin’s acquisition of such a substantial sum through dishonest means signals the need for a thorough investigation and just legal consequences.

4. Potential Sentence

Maximum prison term

Having pleaded guilty to wire fraud, Christiane Kathleen Irwin faces a possible maximum prison term of up to 20 years. This grave offense and the significant financial loss incurred by the law firm necessitate a strict and proportional punishment. The severity of the potential prison sentence serves as a deterrent for others who may be tempted to engage in similar fraudulent activities.

Sentencing date

The sentencing date for Christiane Kathleen Irwin has been scheduled for January 3, 2024. This date marks a crucial milestone in the legal process, as it will determine the specific consequences that Irwin will face for her actions. The court will consider various factors, including the extent of the financial loss, the duration of the fraudulent scheme, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Restitution amount agreed upon

As part of her guilty plea, Christiane Kathleen Irwin has agreed to pay restitution to the law firm in the amount of over $1.48 million. This restitution aims to compensate the law firm for the financial loss incurred due to Irwin’s fraudulent activities. By agreeing to the restitution amount, Irwin acknowledges the harm caused and takes responsibility for her actions.

5. Investigating Agency

Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Dallas Field Office played a central role in investigating the fraudulent activities of Christiane Kathleen Irwin. The FBI, known for its expertise in combating financial crimes, conducted a thorough investigation to uncover the extent of the fraud and gather evidence necessary for the prosecution.

Roles of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and Financial Auditor

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nashonme Johnson and Jenna Rudoff, along with Financial Auditor Sheila Powell, have been instrumental in prosecuting the case against Christiane Kathleen Irwin. Their expertise in the legal and financial domains ensures a comprehensive and fair examination of the evidence. Through their diligent efforts, they seek to hold Irwin accountable for her criminal actions.

6. Contact Information

Press Officer contact for inquiries

For any inquiries regarding this case or related matters, please contact Press Officer Erin Dooley at 214-659-8707 or via email at The Press Officer will be able to provide accurate and up-to-date information to interested parties, ensuring transparency in the dissemination of information.

Updated date of press release

This press release was last updated on August 23, 2023. Please refer to the most recent version of this document for the latest updates and developments related to the case.

7. Related Financial Fraud Instances

Man sentenced for PPP fraud

In a separate case, a man was recently sentenced to prison for his involvement in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud. The individual defrauded pandemic-era financial programs out of nearly $4 million. This case serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance in detecting and prosecuting financial fraud, particularly in times of economic uncertainty.

Man sentenced for conning food service program

A Dallas man was recently sentenced for scamming the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program out of more than $2.3 million. This case highlights the importance of maintaining the integrity of government-funded programs and the severe consequences faced by those who exploit them for personal gain.

Ex-FBI agent convicted of probation scheme

A retired FBI agent was recently convicted at trial for a probation scheme in which he conned a Granbury woman out of over $700,000. This case underscores the need for accountability within law enforcement and the justice system, as no individual is immune to the temptations of financial fraud.

8. District Information

Address of Northern District of Texas

The address for the Northern District of Texas is 1100 Commerce Street, Third Floor, Dallas, Texas 75242-1699. This location serves as the operational headquarters for legal proceedings and ensures efficient access to justice for individuals residing within the district.

Contact information for Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Amarillo offices

For specific inquiries or assistance, the following contact information is provided for the various offices within the Northern District of Texas:

  • Dallas: 214-659-8600
  • Fort Worth: 817-252-5200
  • Lubbock: 806-472-7351
  • Amarillo: 806-324-2356

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10. Government Services Information

Contact for Government Services questions

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