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Date: 05-04-2021

Case Style:

United States of America v. Karen Rhett

Case Number: 2:21-cr-00004-DCN

Judge: David C Norton

Court: United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Charleston County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory

Description: Charleston, South Carolina criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with embezzlement.

Karen Rhett, 58, of Mount Pleasant, was charged with embezzlement of over $1,000,000 from Simmons Realty Company and its owners, while Rhett served as the Charleston real estate company’s bookkeeper.

From the mid-1990s, Rhett managed and controlled the finances, payroll, and tax preparation for Simmons Realty and all related entities. During the course of her employment, Rhett engaged in a complex embezzlement scheme – starting by falsifying the business ledgers to move money to her personal accounts and evolving into augmenting her salary, stealing directly from other employee’s paychecks, and stealing from the other Simmons Realty related entities.

According to a review by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of bank records, checks, and other financial documents, including the hard drive Rhett used during the course of her employment, Rhett stole more than $1 million from Simmons Realty Company, its owners, and related entities. On the hard drive, agents recovered detailed spreadsheets Rhett maintained regarding the amount of money she was stealing, where the money came from, and how she falsified the business ledgers.

In addition to the money stolen with the embezzlement scheme, evidence presented showed that Rhett never reported the income on her taxes and failed to pay more than $380,000 in taxes during the course of the scheme.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS. Assistant United States Attorney Emily Limehouse is prosecuting the case.


Outcome: Defendant pleaded guilty faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison on the charges and potential financial penalties. With the guilty plea, Rhett has also agreed to forfeit over $640,000.

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