Bruce Sues Accounting Firms for Fraud on Behalf of Village of Burnham

Posted By Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. || Oct 23, 2015

The village of Burnham has hired Power Rogers & Smith’s Devon Bruce to represent their suit against two accounting firms who failed to detect wire fraud that cost clients thousands of dollars.

On October 20, 2015, the village of Burnham filed a lawsuit against the firms O’Neill and Gaspardo LLC in Mokena and The Walker Group for not detecting approximately $700,000 in theft. According to the suit, Burnham hired the accounting firms to audit their town’s books. The Walker Group was hired in 2010 to analyze the 2006 fiscal year, while O’Neill and Gaspardo LLC was asked to audit for 2007-2010.

The complaint alleges that the two firms failed to find the theft committed by a former Burnham clerk, Nancy Dobrowski, who served as the clerk for more than 30 years. Dobrowski was charged with wire fraud and falsifying tax returns in May 2014 after being accused of stealing $700,000. Officials say the theft negatively affected spending for entities such as the local police department and garbage disposal.

Dobrowski pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 18-months in jail. Her sentence also includes paying off the money she stole in disgorgement and paying an additional $200,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She is currently serving her sentence in West Virginia.

The village of Burnham has hired Attorney Devon Bruce to represent them against the accounting firm.

Attorney Bruce said the following in a statement:

"The Village of Burnham hired these accounting firms to perform the City audits and part of their job was to find any fraud or misstatement in the Village's finances. These accounting firms failed to do their job, which allowed Nancy Dobrowski's theft to continue for years."

Attorney Bruce has in-depth experience handling complex fraud and embezzlement cases. In one of his most high-profile cases, he helped the city of Dixon recover $40 million dollars after Rita Crundwell’s scheme. Crundwell stole almost $54 million from the city without the bank auditors detecting the theft.

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