A Forked River woman who served as a bookkeeper for a law firm may face prison time when she is sentenced per a federal plea agreement on one count of mail fraud.
Sharon Wetter of Forked River is free on $100,000 bail after agreeing May 23 to resolve accusations related to years of alleged fraud by pleading guilty to the mail fraud charge, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
From 2004 to October 2010, Wetter used her position as bookkeeper at an unnamed Ocean County law firm to defraud its principals of more than $500,000, which she used to pay off her personal credit cards, according to a federal Information signed by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
Wetter wrote checks from the bank accounts of the firm and entities associated with the firm and then altered "the books and records of the law firm and entities associated with the law firm to make it appear that the payments were legitimate business expenses," according to Fishman's filed Information.
Wetter used the U.S. mail to send the checks, Fishman wrote, and utilized the funds to pay down her own bills.
Wetter agreed to waive a possible indictment when she appeared before Judge Mary L. Cooper May 23 and instead agreed to a plea agreement to one count of mail fraud.
Wetter faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if she pleads guilty to the agreed count of mail fraud. Additionally, the judge reserves the right to impose further penalties, including restitution to victims, and is not bound by any sentencing guidelines.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 29, according to the minutes of the May 23 status conference with Cooper.
Wetter's lawyer, Anthony Simonetti, declined to comment.