Disbarred Winter Park attorney pleads guilty to defrauding clients, banks out of $2.7 million

ORLANDO, Fla. — A disbarred Winter Park attorney arrested in September on charges she stole millions of dollars from clients and banks has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Julie W. Kronhaus, 52, was originally arrested on a 14-count indictment, but pleaded guilty to only three counts Wednesday: two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

According to a plea agreement filed in Orlando federal court, from June 2009 to February 2015, Kronhaus diverted funds from various trust accounts for her personal use.

She also engaged in a “check kiting scheme” where she would write checks from accounts with insufficient funds and deposit them into her clients’ trust accounts, the plea agreement said.

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She would then write checks to her clients from the trust account, taking advantage of the time it took for banks to process the transactions from one account to another, officials said.

“The first thought that ran through my head was, ‘It’s about time.’ We’re been waiting for this day for over two years,” said one of the victims, Allan Cook.

Court documents said Kronhaus would use her clients’ money to make substantial payments for such things as traveling, clothing, dining and entertainment.

“How could you turn around and be so cold, and steal everybody’s money, not just mine, but other people’s too and act like nothing ever happened?” Cook asked.

Cook and his wife had to sell their home in Oviedo after they said Kronhaus stole nearly $975,000 from them, most of which was retirement money.

“Very excited with the fact that they followed through and they got this person that has pretty much destroyed my life,” Cook said.

Cook and his wife won a $2.1 million civil lawsuit against Kronhaus, but they have yet to see any money from that.

Kronhaus faces up to 70 years in prison on the wire and bank fraud charges.