by Chris Ramirez
A Reedsburg lawyer will spend nearly four years in federal prison for embezzling $1.6 million from a client's trust accounts.
U.S. District Judge William M. Conley on Thursday ordered Kristin Lein, 61, to serve 45 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return.
Prosecutors alleged that in June 2019, Lein began transferring money from several accounts belonging to the client’s trust to her own personal bank account.
Lein and the beneficiary of the trust spoke in a Feb. 2, 2022, phone call about financial matters. She told the person the trust balance was over $1.8 million.
But that wasn't true.
Prosecutors alleged the amount in the trust was significantly less due to her actions, and that she continued to embezzle money until the funds were depleted in September 2022.
Timothy M. O’Shea, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said in a statement an investigation revealed Lein used the embezzled funds to pay personal expenses, including improvements to her home in Sauk County.
She also used the money to buy multiple vehicles, including a 2019 F-250 pickup truck, a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and a 2020 Mahinda tractor, the statement said.
Lein admitted she failed to report the income she obtained from the embezzlement on her 2019 personal tax return.
The charges against Lein were a result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner handled the prosecution.