Former Law Firm Chief Financial Officer Charged with Defrauding Firm of More Than $1.5M and Tax Evasion

Defendant’s Alleged Fraud Scheme Included Misrepresenting $355K in Personal Expenses for Flights, Hotels, and Restaurants as Business Expenses

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
J. Stephen Ferketic, Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Dan Prochilo

TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) today announced that John Dunlea, the former Chief Financial Officer of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP (the “McElroy Law Firm”), a national law firm based in New Jersey, has been charged with embezzling more than $1.5 million from the firm and evading payment of income tax owed to the State of New Jersey.

John Dunlea, 61, of Westfield, New Jersey, was charged by criminal complaint with two counts of theft by deception (2nd degree) and five counts of failure to pay tax (3rd degree) in connection with the alleged fraud.

The charges are the result of an investigation by DCJ’s Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions. The Attorney General thanked the New Jersey Division of Taxation-Office of Criminal Investigations for its assistance in the case.

It is alleged that between 2017 and 2022, Dunlea misappropriated funds from the McElroy Law Firm by paying himself unauthorized compensation totaling $1,182,965. Furthermore, it is alleged that he had the law firm pay credit card expenses totaling $355,256, claiming they were business expenses, when, in fact, they were personal expenses, including for international and domestic airline flights, hotels, and restaurants for himself and his family. Additionally, it is alleged that Dunlea evaded paying State income tax during tax years 2018 to 2022 for income derived from the credit card scheme.

“As alleged, this case reinforces our commitment to ensuring that fraud and tax cheating does not go unpunished in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute fraudulent schemes such as this to hold accountable people who would steal from New Jersey businesses and evade taxes owed to the State.”

“Dunlea was a trusted, high-level executive at a national law firm, and he allegedly abused that trust for years by stealing more than $1.5 million from his employer,” said Legal Chief Pablo Quiñones. “This investigation and prosecution should place potential white-collar fraudsters on notice that our office will seek to hold them accountable for taking advantage of businesses that call New Jersey home.”

Deputy Attorney General Janet Bosi is prosecuting the case for the Office of Securities Fraud and Financial Crimes Prosecutions, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Adam Heck and Legal Chief Pablo Quiñones.

The charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to ten years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The potential sentences are provided solely for informational purposes, as any potential sentence is determined by a judge.

Defense Attorney:
Ricardo Solano, Jr., Gibbons P.C.


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