A Farmington attorney’s secretary was recently indicted by a grand jury with several felonies after additional evidence was uncovered following original charges.
Laura Henderson, 25, of Desloge, faces a class C felony of receiving stolen property, eight class D felonies of forgery, and 20 class D felonies of fraudulent use of a credit device.
Henderson had originally been charged in May of 2017 with a class C felony of receiving stolen property, two class C felonies of forgery, and a class D felony of fraudulent use of a credit device.
St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin said much more information was discovered that led to the additional charges.
“The case was getting a little bit 'long in the tooth' at that level and when we came across that information, for us it was easier just to go ahead and present it to the grand jury,” said Mahurin. “In fact, they actually added a bunch of additional charges.”
According to the original probable cause statement, on April 12 Attorney Tom Burcham reported to the Farmington Police Department that a former employee, Henderson, had been stealing and committing forgery and fraud at his business.
Burcham reported that between May 4, 2016 and April 1, 2017, Henderson made $32,010.68 in unauthorized charges on the business credit card account. He also reported that Henderson used multiple credit cards under the name of the firm and billed to the same account.
Henderson also fraudulently obtained a credit card in her name, which she used for non-business related items. It was also reported that from January 30, 2016 to March 17, 2017, Henderson used a stamp of Burcham’s signature on numerous checks for personal purposes and benefits. The total amount of those checks was $15,501.80.
From April 15, 2016 to March 31, 2017, Henderson reportedly overpaid herself $11,176.50 on the payroll by overstating the numbers of hours she worked. She paid herself twice for services, paid herself for services not performed and for services and bonuses not authorized by Burcham.
It was also reported that Henderson forged court summonses by signing the signature and using the notary stamp of the previous secretary.
On April 20, 2017, an officer with the Farmington Police Department interviewed Henderson. She reportedly admitted to the investigating officer that while she was employed at the law firm she used the businesses credit cards and checks to purchase items for her personal use.
Henderson said she used the stamp of Burcham’s signature for the checks and used three credit cards at the office. Henderson said Burcham authorized her to get a credit card for the law firm.
Henderson also admitted to forging the signature and using the notary stamp of the previous secretary. She said she did this multiple times when she returned court summonses. Henderson denied paying herself through the payroll account.
Henderson was originally booked in the St. Francois County Jail on a $60,000 bond which she later posted.
Under the grand jury indictment and additional charges the bond will carry over, and her next court appearance is scheduled for an initial arraignment on Jan. 19.