RACINE — A Racine woman indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly embezzling more than $775,000 from her late father’s Racine law firm has pleaded guilty.
Kathleen A. Fetek, a real estate agent, in August pleaded not guilty to a charge of mail fraud, but on Nov. 1 she changed her plea to guilty.
If convicted, Fetek faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. She would also face up to three years supervision after her release and be forced to pay victims of the crime restitution, totaling $788,277.
Fetek is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 15 at the Milwaukee Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Law firm embezzlement
According to the indictment, Fetek worked for her attorney father, James Fetek, from 2012 until his death in 2016. By 2014, Kathleen Fetek reportedly diverted money belonging to beneficiaries and estates represented by Fetek Law Office and kept it for herself.
Fetek pleaded guilty to writing checks to herself from the firm’s account, signing her mother’s name. She then cashed the checks at various locations, such as banks and liquor stores, and would prepare and mail “materially false distribution summaries and estate account documentation” to beneficiaries.
An FBI investigation uncovered Fetek’s plot when after her father’s death, Fetek provided the firm’s records to a new attorney. She provided checks she had cashed for herself that were altered to look as if they were written to beneficiaries.
During the period that Fetek worked at her father’s law firm, the plea agreement alleges she was “gambling frequently.” It also states that between January 2015 and December 2016 Fetek lost more than $212,000 at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee.
Fetek is prohibited from visiting any gambling establishments or participating in online gambling, according to her order for release.