AUBURN — An Oxford woman was indicted Wednesday, charged with embezzling more than a $100,000 from Berman & Simmons, the Lewiston law firm for which she worked.

Amy L. Christiansen, 29, of 513 King St., Oxford, was indicted by the Androscoggin County grand jury on a single count of theft by unauthorized taking.

According to the indictment, Christiansen schemed to steal from Berman and Simmons while she was employed there between 2007 and early 2009.

“Obviously, she’s not working for them anymore,” said Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere.

Police did not reveal the exact amount Christiansen is accused of stealing although Bussiere said “it’s well into six figures.”

In late 2008 and early 2009, officials at the law firm became aware of financial discrepancies and contacted police. For months, Lewiston police investigated the alleged embezzlement and this week, presented their case to the grand jury.

The grand jury handed up the indictment Wednesday afternoon.

According to a statement released by Berman & Simmons Wednesday night, the employee admitted to the theft.

“Last May, the law firm learned that a non-lawyer member of its staff had misappropriated funds from a trust account,” it said in the statement. “The employee came forward just as an audit by outside accountants was about to begin. The employee confessed that she, acting alone, had taken the money for her personal use.”

Christiansen could not be located for comment about the accusation Wednesday night. She was expected to be summoned to appear in court to face the charge.

Berman & Simmons was founded in 1914 and has offices in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor. They employ 54 people, including more than a dozen lawyers.

According to the statement, prepared by firm lawyer John Sedgewick, a handful of clients were initially affected by the theft but were quickly alerted to the situation.

“The firm also immediately replaced the stolen trust account funds, notified the small number of clients affected and reimbursed them in full for any financial loss to them,” Sedgewick wrote.


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