Lawyer accused of embezzling $9 million returned to Houston

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by Brian Rogers/ The Houston Chronicle

khou.com

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

HOUSTON—A Houston lawyer who has been on the run since June when he was accused of stealing more than $9 million from his employer now wants to take responsibility for his actions and was expected to be returned to Houston, his lawyer said.

Anthony Chiofalo turned himself in weeks ago at a Rhode Island police station, said attorney Paul Doyle. Authorities were expected to bring Chiofalo to Houston Thursday night.

”He’s always wanted to cooperate, to make this right,” Doyle said. “When his wife was charged, it shocked him, and that caused him to run.”

Chiofalo, 51, was a New York attorney with a suspended law license who moved to Houston in 2009. He took a job with Tadano America, a wholly owned subsidiary of a Japanese company that manufactures large cranes, court records show.

In November 2010, prosecutors said, he began paying dummy law firms to help with litigation that did not exist. Chiofalo is accused, with his wife, of creating the fake law firms using stationery and rented mailboxes.

The first scam invoice was for $25,000 and they eventually came in for as much as $1.3 million, tipping off the leadership at Tadano, who began investigating the uptick in outside legal work.

When Chiofalo’s explanations did not check out, according to court records, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was alerted. The lawyer and his wife were indicted in June on charges of felony theft, a first degree felony.

Susan Chiofalo, 51, has been released from the Harris County Jail after posting a $100,000 bond.

Click here to read more at The Houston Chronicle.

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