TRENTON, NJ—A former partner of a law firm based in Freehold, New Jersey admitted today to defrauding the firm and its clients by improperly diverting more than $885,000 from the law firm, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Timothy Provost, 57, of Millstone Township, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of mail fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Provost admitted that between April 2004 and January 2011, he embezzled from the law firm, referred to in court documents simply as “Law Firm,” by wrongfully writing checks from the law firm’s attorney trust and business accounts to himself and his personal creditors to pay for his and his family’s personal expenses, including his mortgage, his children’s tuition, and horse stable expenses. Provost then mailed some of the checks to his personal creditors. He further admitted to attempting to hide his theft by using the stolen funds to purchase cashier’s checks payable to his creditors or to himself.
Provost, who was a partner at the firm, had access to the law firm’s bank accounts in order to conduct real estate transactions on behalf of clients, including closings and refinancings. Provost’s embezzlement left several clients with double mortgages, which insurance then stepped in to cover. In total, Provost stole more than $885,000 from the attorney trust and business accounts for his personal benefit.
The mail fraud count to which Provost pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Provost will also be ordered to pay restitution at sentencing, currently scheduled for March 20, 2013.