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Pierce County Housing Authority Auditor Steals Seven Million. Really?

Pierce County Housing Authority Auditor Steals Seven Million. Really?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Hi, we’re here today with Spencer Freeman, criminal defense attorney in Pierce County, Washington. Spencer, I want to talk about an issue, that’s seriously a big news item, within the Pierce County court system. And that is the fact that a finance director…a finance auditor, excuse me, with the Pierce County housing agency, allegedly stole $7,000,000 over a four-year period. Just late last year, an audit occurred, they found out, and now she’s being charged. So, I’ve got a couple of questions. Of course, the feds are involved. So, even though it’s Pierce County Housing Authority, where’s the venue going to be? Is it going to be in federal court or is it going to be in state court?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Well, that’s going to be the result of a kind of battle or conflict or discussion between the local prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney’s office. And really, how much interest the U.S. Attorney’s office has in trying to prosecute this case. I think their interest comes in…in that the suspects allegedly used funds to purchase property in Oklahoma. But you can imagine that the local Pierce County prosecutors have a pretty significant interest in seeing this person prosecuted through the local courts.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, you know, the news items say that there hasn’t…this went on for four years. And the amount of money that she stole, $7,000,000…the annual budget in that department is $32,000,000, and when you do the math, that’s literally 5% of that budget, being siphoned off every year, or obviously on the average. And that’s a huge amount of money. So, I can see where Pierce County is going to want to go after her. So, what is the extent of what she’s looking at, you know, in terms of punitive actions?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“So, if we’re going to talk about this…if she’s charged here, in the state sentencing guidelines, it really depends on how the prosecutor decides to charge the case. If the prosecutor charges one or two charges, over long courses of time, then she’s looking at not a lot of time. But if the prosecutor breaks this down, let’s say, into month-by-month or two month increments of actions, and charges each of those increments as a separate count, then all of a sudden, she could be looking at 20+ counts. Then she’s looking at significant time, like years…close to a decade of time.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, when you say, ‘not a lot of time’, if only one or two is charged, what are you talking…what is that? ‘Not a lot of time’?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“I don’t have the sentencing guidelines right in front of me, but one count of theft in the first-degree is not multiple years. It’s very little time. The prosecutors here, given the $7,000,000, they’re going to charge this with multiple counts. I would imagine 20 or more counts.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“I would think you’re absolutely correct. Now they’ve sued her also. Last question. They’ve sued her, now civilly, trying to recoup money. And I would assume there’s restitution within the criminal case itself?”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, the court…if she’s convicted, the court can order restitution. That restitution order would mimic, likely, what the Pierce County Housing Authority sued her for. Although the Housing Authority might be able to get some other things, such as interest or some costs in pursuing the suit. But they’ll mimic the suit. The benefit that the civil case provides, is that it potentially provides some ways to attach property, so that it’s not sold or moved on. So that they still have access to it, if it’s still around.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Well, you actually mentioned what has already occurred. The judge has ordered her property seized, bank accounts, land, real estate, etcetera etcetera. So, we’ll keep a watch on it, and have you back for more information on this issue. Thanks Spencer.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“All right. Thank you.”


Born and raised in Colorado, Mr. Freeman stayed in the Pacific Northwest after graduating cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 1995, at which time he was awarded the National Order of Barristers by the National Board of Governors. After gaining extensive trial experience as a prosecutor for the City of Tacoma, Mr. Freeman worked locally for several small law firms focused on personal injury and criminal defense. In 2000, he began to work at a downtown Seattle law firm, where he worked with some of the best lawyers in the nation. During the better part of the next six years, Mr. Freeman was blessed to do work for one of the largest national television providers litigating matters involving the theft of encrypted satellite signals. During this time, he worked closely with corporate counsel and assisted in developing and managing a national litigation campaign. He appeared in federal courts throughout the nation, gaining extensive experience in both federal court litigation and the pursuit of intellectual property thieves attempting to hide on the Internet.

In late 2005, Mr. Freeman decided to open a practice in Tacoma, where his family was growing. Mr. Freeman’s connections locally and nationally nourished his practice over time. He has served the local community as well as handling cases in federal courts across the country. Locally, Mr. Freeman has assisted local businesses in such matters as contentious shareholder disputes and individuals in matters ranging from catastrophic injuries to class A felonies as well as lawsuits against insurance companies for bad faith claims practices. He tried a Whatcom County Superior Court case for a bail bond company that resulted in the first appellate law in Washington truly outlining the rights of fugitive recovery agents. He has tried cases in many counties throughout the State of Washington, argued before the Court of Appeals Division I and Division II and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Mr. Freeman’s practice has taken him beyond Washington State, where he has handled cases for national Internet multi-media companies enforcing copyrights in states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In those cases, he has successfully argued for jurisdiction in the United States against individuals that reside in other countries. Mr. Freeman also represented a publisher against sheriffs regarding First Amendment Rights to distribute a magazine in county jails, resulting in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first case law of its kind. He has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals five times and submitted a briefing to the United States Supreme Court.

On more than several occasions, Mr. Freeman has been retained by parties on the near eve of a trial solely for purpose of being lead trial counsel. One such successful case was against the U.S. Department of Justice in their first trial attempting to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act for the actions of independent contractors.

Mr. Freeman’s passion and strength lay in front of a jury. He finds a beautiful balance between fact witnesses, statutes, case law, rules of evidence, and the different contexts of each jury. Most cases find a resolution before trial, but the best resolution occurs when counsel is prepared to try the case. And, when a case cannot find resolution, Mr. Freeman loves to go to work.

Contact Attorney:

Phone: 253-383-4500
Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is one of the most reputable and reliable attorney enterprises with two locations in Tacoma and Olympia, WA.

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