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Former secretary, boyfriend accused of stealing thousands from law firm, prospective clients

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  A 25-year-old Memphis woman and her boyfriend were taken into custody after her former employer accused the pair of stealing thousands from the business and prospective clients.

In November 2018, Attorney Michael Working with Working Law Firm told police he was at the bank when he became aware of numerous unauthorized checks that had been made out to Lareda Thurman, a former employee, and her boyfriend Robert Caldwell.

The former secretary had been fired just days before the bank visit for allegedly stealing money from the company.

During that visit, the law firm was told the pair had made out 36 checks to themselves totaling more than $11,000. The bank also stated they called the business to verify the checks had been authorized and was told by Thurman that they were.

"It's disappointing," Working said. "It was a few checks here and there, for like 100 bucks that she wrote. $150 didn't really show up on the radar. But when she wrote three checks for $350, pretty quickly it showed up."

A month later, Working filed additional paperwork claiming Thurman had also stolen more than $16,500 from prospective clients. The company said Thurman collected a retainer fee from those individuals but failed to tell the attorneys about the cases. They only discovered something was wrong when the victims called the company asking about their payments and cases.

"When she was fired she stole several receipt books. She was very pregnant at the time, like 8 months pregnant. She had an app that forwarded calls to her phone, and she told clients that she was out on maternity leave and she would rive to them," Working said.

The attorney says he only hired Thurman to answer phones and give clients receipts. She didn't have much work history but he gave her a chance.

He believes the bank dropped the ball by letting Thurman authorize checks that weren't hers. He hopes this is something the bank will give him answers to in court.

Both Thurman and Caldwell were charged with theft of property, forgery and conspiracy -theft of property.

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