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Millions Embezzled from Dallas Family

Crime

Judges Gavel | Image by kuzmaphoto/Shutterstock

A woman from Texas has pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of dollars from the Dallas family that employed her.

Barbara Chalmers, 74, embezzled at least $29 million from the family of the late James M. Collins, a businessman and U.S. congressman, according to the Department of Justice. Collins served in Congress from 1968 to 1983, Bloomberg reported. The firm Collins Capital Investments was founded by two of his children, Dorothy Collins Weaver and Michael James Collins.

Chalmers had financial roles in multiple entities owned by the family, Bloomberg reported, including the James M. Collins Foundation, the Collins American Capital Corp., and International Family Investors LTD.

“According to court documents, Barbara Chalmers, 74, of Lewisville, admitted that starting in at least 2012, she abused her position as bookkeeper for the family’s companies and her signatory authority over the companies’ bank accounts to fraudulently write herself at least 175 checks, which she deposited into her personal accounts,” the Department of Justice press release shares.

“In order to conceal her fraudulent conduct, she provided false paperwork to tax preparers misstating the year-end cash-on-hand numbers for the various accounts from which she was embezzling,” the release continues. “She used more than $25 million of the stolen money to fund a construction business for which she was the president.”

Chalmers was charged on December 14. She could face 10 years in federal prison.

The activity was discovered by the Collins family last year, Bloomberg reported. This happened after the death of Dorothy Dann Collins Torbert, James M. Collins’ widow.

An attorney for the family, Ephraim Wernick, told Bloomberg in a statement that the embezzlement hurt the family, as well as those in need.

“Not only did Ms. Chalmers brazenly abuse the trust the family placed in her, but she also stole millions of dollars from a charitable foundation dedicated to improving the lives and health for so many in need in the Dallas community,” Wernick said.

Two years before the death of Torbert, Chalmers had received dozens of unauthorized checks from more than one account, Bloomberg reported. These checks equaled over $5.7 million.

A sentencing date for Chalmers has not been set, according to the Department of Justice. A federal district court judge will consider statutory factors and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines before deciding on sentencing.

This high-profile case is indicative of a broader trend of rising crime in Dallas, where the city council and other political leaders have declined to prioritize law enforcement.

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Senior Pastor
Senior Pastor
25 days ago

For those that have been in the Criminal Justice Field know that the crime of embezzlement is usually committed by a woman far more than a man. Yet, when a man does it they usually embezzle more at one time. Strange such a large amount was embezzled by a woman maybe she was trying to embezzle big like a man?

J S
J S
25 days ago

So a criminal family who stole from the American people got stole from. Why should I remotely care?! Oh wait I don’t other than the little guy gets in trouble for theft while elitist garbage get to break all the laws they choose with little to no punishment if caught

Pap
Pap
24 days ago

If she has just done it for a couple of years back in 2012/2013 and stopped, she probably would have gotten away with it. Pretty dumb. I guess like a gambler, couldn’t stop when she was ahead.