A Millstone Township resident pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Wednesday, Dec. 12 in front of U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp at Trenton Federal Court.
Timothy Provost, 57, a former partner of a Freehold-based law firm, admitted to defrauding the firm and its clients of over $885,000, according to U.S. Paul J. Fishman.
Between April 2004 and January 2011, Provost admitted to embezzling from the law firm by fraudulently writing checks from the law firm’s attorney trust and business accounts to himself, as well as to his personal creditors to pay for personal expenses for himself and his family. According to court documents these expenses included his mortgage, children’s tuition, and horse stable expenses.
Provost also mailed some of the checks to his personal creditors. Attempting to hide the theft, Provost said he used the stolen funds to buy cashier's checks that were payable to his creditors or to himself.
As a partner of the law firm, Provost had access to the firm’s bank accounts so that he could conduct real estate transactions for clients, such as refinancing homes and closings. Several of Provost’s clients were left with double mortgages due his embezzlement; insurance has covered this. Exactly $885,364.71 was stolen from the attorney trust and business accounts by Provost, court documents indicated.
Mail fraud, the charge which Provost pleaded guilty to, is punishable by a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Provost’s sentencing is scheduled for March 20, 2013; he will be ordered to pay restitution at his sentencing.