Law firm office manager accused of stealing $2.1M over nine years

Law Firms

An office manager who also served as comptroller for a New Orleans law firm is accused of stealing $2.1 million from her employer over a nine-year period.

Latanya Arnold, 48, is accused of stealing the money from the firm of Bernard “Bunny” Charbonnet Jr., report the New Orleans Advocate and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. She is charged with felony theft, forgery and bank fraud.

Her husband, 48-year-old Raymond Arnold, has also been arrested as an alleged accessory.

Police say Arnold used the money to pay off a lease on a Mercedes-Benz, a bank loan, and to cover expenses for their businesses.

Charbonnet first learned something was amiss after he discovered an unauthorized $25,000 withdrawal by Latanya Arnold soon after she left the law firm on April 30, according to the arrest warrant. When he questioned Arnold about it, she said the money was used to post bond for her son, Malcolm, who was arrested on drug possession charges, the warrant said. Arnold promised to repay the money.

Charbonnet ordered an audit after he discovered Arnold later forged his signature on a check to withdraw money from a law firm account to repay the $25,000, according to the warrant.

Charbonnet’s sister is New Orleans mayoral candidate Desiree Charbonnet, a former municipal court judge. He is “well-known in political circles,” the Advocate reports, having served in a previous mayor’s administration and as general counsel for the New Orleans Aviation Board and Orleans Parish School Board.

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