Christine Brown Wesley of Jupiter, Florida was arrested last week on grand theft charges after allegedly stealing over $525,000 from the law firm Vernis and Bowling over the last two years. Wesley, 44, was booked into Palm Beach County jail last Thursday and released on bond the next day. It is unclear if she has hired an attorney.
According to the arrest report, Wesley had worked for the North Palm Beach law firm for 12 years before she was promoted to manager in 2014. Her new position came with an $8,000 salary increase as well as access to the law firm’s passwords and finances.
The firm’s financial records reportedly show that Wesley used the finance information she received with her promotion to give herself large bonuses. She allegedly paid herself $81,000 and $150,000 in bonuses in 2014 and 2015 respectively on top of her $88,000 annual salary.
Wesley allocated a $70,000 bonus for 2016, but was caught after the company’s pension plan coordinator reported the unusual payouts to her boss, George Vernis, in March. Wesley also allegedly forged Vernis’ signature to write $230,000 in checks to herself.
Vernis told police that he was unaware of Wesley’s alleged grand theft until he received a call from the pension plan coordinator. When Vernis asked Wesley to bring him a summary of the firm’s payroll, she reportedly ran out of the office and was never seen again.
After months of investigation, police finally arrested Wesley last week. Court records show she has no criminal history in Florida. News sources did not say when her trial is scheduled to begin.
Source: 9.16.16 Wesley Grand Theft.pdf