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West suburban woman pleads guilty to stealing $550K from employer

A 44-year-old west suburban woman pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $550,000 from a Downers Grove law firm where she was formerly employed.

Mary Marra of Woodridge pleaded guilty to theft before Judge Daniel Guerin and remains free on bond pending a sentencing hearing, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office said.

While working as a secretary at the law firm, Marra embezzled $551,662.66 through a scheme that she was able to keep hidden from her employers for more than five years, prosecutors said.

Beginning in December 2002, she used several methods to steal money, including writing herself unauthorized checks from the firm’s bank accounts and forging her employer’s signature, prosecutors said. She also wrote herself checks from the estate of one of the firm’s clients.

In February 2008, the scheme unraveled when the bank notified the company of an overdraft, and an internal company audit revealed discrepancies in the company’s books.

Marra pleaded guilty to two counts of theft in excess of $100,000, and one count of continuing a financial crimes enterprise, the release said. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

“Today, Ms. Marra admitted stealing more than half a million dollars from her former employer,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “For several years she treated he employer’s bank accounts as her own personal ATM machine, taking money for whatever she needed, whenever she needed it.”

Marra has paid back about $100,000 as of Thursday, prosecutors said. Her next court appearance is July 27 for return of a pre-sentencing report.



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