IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

In the Matter of:

MARY FRANCES WILKENS,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6274320.

 

Supreme Court No. M.R.

Commission No. 2012PR00168

 

STATEMENT OF CHARGES PURSUANT
TO SUPREME COURT RULE 762(a)

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Melissa A. Smart, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 762(a), states that on the date Mary Frances Wilkens (hereinafter, "Movant") signed a motion requesting that her name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys, the Administrator was investigating allegations that Movant had wrongfully taken $174,300.53 from her former employer, the American Library Association. Had Movantís conduct been the subject of a hearing, the Administrator would have introduced the evidence as set forth below, and that evidence would have clearly and convincingly established the allegations of misconduct indicated below:

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

1. Between 2001 and 2012, Movant worked for the American Library Association ("ALA") as the General Manager of Booklist Publications, a non-legal position. In this capacity, Movant had the authority to request checks for amounts less than $5,000 in order to pay vendors. Movantís supervisor, Bill Ott ("Ott"), who was required to approve Movantís check requests, had given Movant permission to initial requests on his behalf.

2. On February 23, 2006, Movant opened a checking account at Washington Mutual (now Chase Bank). This account was entitled, "Mary Wilkens d/b/a MW Services." "MW Services" was a fictional entity created and used by Movant in order to give the appearance that

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she was requesting checks from the ALA to be paid to a legitimate business vendor for services rendered, when in fact Movant intended to personally receive the benefits of the checksí proceeds.

3. Between 2006 and 2012, Movant made at least 29 fraudulent check requests to the ALA accounting department, requesting that the checks be made out to a vendor identified as "MW Services," in various dollar amounts. Movant placed Ottís initials on all of the check requests made for "MW Services," without Ottís specific knowledge as to the intended purpose of those check requests.

4. Between 2006 and 2012, the ALA accounting department authorized payment on, and subsequently delivered to Movant, at least 29 checks made payable to "MW Services." The amount of the checks made payable to "MW Services" totaled $174,300.53.

5. Between 2006 and 2012, Movant received at least 29 checks from ALA written to "MW Services." Movant personally endorsed each check and deposited the checks into her Washington Mutual (now Chase) bank account for the purpose of paying her own personal expenses. As of March 13, 2012, Movant used $174,300.53 in funds from the ALA for her own personal purposes.

6. At no time during the six-year period described above, did Ott or the ALA have any knowledge of Movantís actions in making the fraudulent check requests. At no time during this six-year period described above did Movant have the ALAís permission to use any of the funds derived from the fraudulent check requests for her own personal purposes.

7. In July 2012, after the ALA discovered Movantís actions and confronted her about the wrongfully taken funds, she paid the ALA $175,000 in restitution.

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II. CONCLUSIONS OF MISCONDUCT

8. As a result of the conduct described above that occurred before January 1, 2010, Movant has engaged in the following misconduct:

a. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and,

b. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute;

9. As a result of the conduct described above that occurred on or after January 1, 2010, Movant has engaged in the following misconduct:

a. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and,

b. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute.

Melissa A. Smart
Counsel for Administrator
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Telephone: (312) 565-2600

Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:  Melissa A. Smart