Woman Charged In Fraud At Law Firm

SEATTLE - Federal authorities are accusing a Mukilteo woman of setting up phony bank accounts to embezzle some $2 million from the Seattle law firm of Bogle & Gates.

Fraud charges were filed this week against Paula A. Baker, 46, the firm's former director of information services. She was arrested Sunday and remains in federal custody.

In court papers, an FBI agent reported Baker had set up two phony businesses, Integrated Solutions and Desktop Products, then submitted false invoices from them to Bogle & Gates for computer equipment that was never received by the firm. The amount believed to be missing is approximately $2,035,000, in a scheme that apparently started last November, court documents indicate.

Richard J. Wallis, Bogle & Gates' chief executive officer, said in a statement that the missing money did not involve "client funds."

Baker, who began work for the firm in November 1996, was in a position of trust and therefore able to divert the money despite "numerous accounting controls," Wallis said.