Public Notices and Press Releases

Former CFO Admits to $1.5 Million Fraud and Tax Evasion at New Jersey Law Firm

John Dunlea pleads guilty to major financial crimes, including embezzling funds and evading taxes, with a five-year prison term proposed.

MORRISTOWN, N.J.John Dunlea, the former Chief Financial Officer of the national law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, has pleaded guilty to charges of theft and tax evasion, according to announcements made today by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ). The guilty plea was entered in the New Jersey Superior Court before Judge Stephen J. Taylor.

The defendant in this case has admitted giving himself a staggering, unauthorized, and illegal seven-figure pay raise, and treating himself and his family, at his employer’s expense, to travel, hotels, and dining out, without his employer’s consent,” said Attorney General Platkin.

Dunlea, 61, from Westfield, New Jersey, faced two counts of second-degree theft by deception and five counts of third-degree failure to pay taxes, admitting to a series of fraudulent activities that led to a loss of over $1.5 million for his former employer and evasion of state taxes. The financial discrepancies occurred between January 2017 and December 2022, during which Dunlea paid himself unauthorized compensation and covered personal expenses using firm resources, including lavish trips and dining.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a five-year sentence in state prison and full restitution to both the McElroy Law Firm and the New Jersey Division of Taxation. The final decision on the sentence, scheduled for June 14, 2024, rests with Judge Taylor.

Dunlea has now admitted in court to tax evasion and to stealing more than $1.5 million from a national law firm, where he served as a trusted, high-level executive for several years,” said Legal Chief Pablo Quiñones of the Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions.

This case highlights the extensive investigative efforts led by DCJ's Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions, along with the New Jersey Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations. Deputy Attorney General Michael Burke is leading the prosecution, underscoring the state's commitment to pursuing justice in complex financial crime cases.

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