The former treasurer of Virginia Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw’s campaign admitted Thursday that she took $653,000 from the prominent state leader in one of three embezzlement schemes she helped run in recent years.
Linda Diane Wallis, who also went by Lynn Wallis Miller, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Alexandria. In addition to stealing from Saslaw, Miller admitted that she, along with an unnamed co-conspirator, scammed a logistics company in Dulles out of $368,000 and various community colleges and a Hungarian businessman out of hundreds of thousands more.
The schemes were relatively simple, reliant on Wallis and her co-conspirator creating fake businesses or charities to which they could route money that they then spent or moved to personal accounts.
In the case of Saslaw, Wallis, 51, used her authority as his campaign treasurer to write checks to two supposed law firms, Federal Legal Associates and The Straile Group, or to herself. The firms, prosecutors said, were fake entities that Wallis and her co-conspirator created, and Saslaw did not know about the expenditures, which Wallis did not list on campaign finance reports.
Wallis served as Saslaw’s campaign treasurer from June 2013 to September 2014, prosecutors said. The co-conspirator, who has not been charged, is referred to in court documents only as DM.
Wallis and DM used the same fake law firms in another scheme, directing $368,000 to them apparently to perform legal work for a logistics company in Dulles. DM worked at the company, prosecutors said, and was in charge of hiring outside lawyers.
In the final scheme, prosecutors said, Wallis and DM were involved in a purported charity, The Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities, that took donations from community colleges and others to provide “assistance to Community Colleges for program development and implementation and information on the availability of resources for sustainability of programs.”
Prosecutors said between April 2010 and April 2013, the group took in $293,000 from U.S. community colleges and $500,000 from a Bulgarian businessman but fell short of fulfilling their mission. Wallis, they said, transferred about $482,00 in bank accounts she and DM controlled, and the two spent much of the money on mortgage payments, restaurant bills and other personal expenses.
Wallis is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29 and faces a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.