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Greenfield attorney pleads guilty to mail fraud, other charges

A Greenfield attorney who allegedly defrauded four clients out of $2.2 million has pleaded guilty to five of the charges made against her.

Sarah Laux had been under an FBI and IRS investigation that focused on her law practice, in which she provided trust and estate planning. She was indicted in December on 33 criminal charges, including 20 counts of money laundering and nine counts of wire fraud.

According to court documents, Laux pleaded guilty Tuesday to five out of the 33 charges at a change of plea hearing before Judge Charles Clevert. She pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of filing a false tax return. Laux will be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 2.

The criminal charges come after Laux’s professional licenses were revoked.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked her license to practice law in June and ordered her to pay any restitution the federal court orders her to pay in addition to $626,515 in restitution to several of her clients. The discipline stemmed from complaints from attorneys who used to work with Laux and an Office of Lawyer Regulation amended complaint filed in October 2014, alleging Laux had committed 23 instances of misconduct.

The court noted in its decision that the OLR was investigating 28 more grievances aside from those in the complaint, plus a Milwaukee County lawsuit alleges Laux misappropriated more than $1.6 million regarding a trust account and engaged in, among other things, fraud, theft and conspiracy.

Laux’s insurance license was also revoked in January 2014. The state insurance commissioner’s office ordered her to pay more than $584,000 in restitution to a client, pay $60,000 in forfeitures that represents the money she allegedly profited from in stealing from that client, and $32,000 for violating 32 insurance laws.


About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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