A central Pennsylvania lawyer charged earlier this month with defrauding a
handful of clients of more than $3 million during a six-year period has pleaded guilty to her crimes.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced late last week that Gettysburg attorney Wendy Weikal-Beauchat, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to misappropriate client funds to pay for business and personal expenses.
The government had charged Weikal-Beauchat with defrauding eight clients between 2007 and this year.
The Pennsylvania Record previously reported on the case, in which it was alleged that the lawyer concealed her fraudulent actions by providing clients with bogus certificates of deposit and Internal Revenue Service 1099 interest forms.
Prosecutors said they were continuing to investigate if more than the already identified eight clients were taken advantage of by the defendant.
“When a lawyer, an officer of the court, defrauds clients, it’s a serious crime – and a heinous breach of trust,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko said in a prior statement.
Weikal-Beauchat faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, supervised release, a forfeiture and a fine.
According to the Evening Sun, a central Pennsylvania newspaper, Weikal-Beauchat was disbarred by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in late February of this year.
Weikal-Beauchat had previously been a principal with the Gettysburg firm Beauchat & Beauchat, which was formed in 1993 by Mark Beauchat, the defendant’s ex-husband and a current magisterial district judge in Gettysburg, the newspaper reported.