Gettysburg Attorney Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Clients of More Than $3 Million
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 15, 2013|
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Wendy Weikal-Beauchat, age 46, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones, III.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Weikal-Beauchat, a former attorney at a Gettysburg law firm, was charged earlier this month with defrauding eight clients of more than $3 million from 2007 through 2013. She misappropriated client funds to pay for her business and personal expenses.
Weikal-Beauchat 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 by her scheme.
The investigation is being conducted by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph J. Terz and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Sinnett from the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 30 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, a forfeiture, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public, and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational, and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.