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Hickory Woman Indicted In Federal Wire Fraud Case

54-year-old Jennifer Elaine Roarke of Hickory, was indicted on wire fraud charges for allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million from the clients of a law firm where she was employed. The announcement was made Wednesday (July 20) by Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina joined U.S. Attorney King in making Wednesday’s announcement.

According to allegations in the indictment, from 2007 to 2021, Roarke, who is also known as Jennifer Claveria, was employed as an assistant and a paralegal for a law firm in Hickory. The law firm handled, among other things, the administration and management of trusts for clients, including the trusts’ bank accounts.

As part of her duties, Roarke was responsible for opening mail, depositing checks into trust bank accounts, and processing invoices. As alleged in the indictment, from 2015 to 2021, Roarke misused her access and position with the law firm to embezzle more than $1.5 million from the trusts of the law firm’s clients.

Roarke allegedly executed the embezzlement scheme by making hundreds of unauthorized wire transfers from bank accounts associated with the law firm’s clients’ trusts into bank accounts controlled by Roarke. Roarke allegedly used the embezzled funds to pay for personal items, make mortgage, car, and credit card payments, and to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney King credited the FBI for the investigation which led to the charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassye Cole with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is in charge of the prosecution.