A Lehighton man, and the estate of his deceased wife, have been named defendants in a civil suit that alleges she embezzled large amounts of money from her employer, a Carbon County attorney, with the husband's knowledge.

Defendants in the action are Myles Hinkle, of 22 Village Rd., Lehighton, and the estate of Carolyn Hinkle, and Myles Hinkle, as the executor of the estate. Also named a defendant is National Penn Bank of Philadelphia, through its Lehighton branch, where the Hinkle's conducted business.

The action was filed by Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co., as subrogee for Atty. William B. Quinn, of Lehighton. Quinn has a law office at 120 S. First St., Lehighton.

The suit alleges that Carolyn Hinkle was a 30 plus year employee of Quinn as his secretary and her responsibilities included bookkeeping and handling all funds of the law practice.

The suit charges she was involved in thefts, embezzlement, conversion, fraud and more over a long period of time. The suit alleges her husband knew of the illegal activities and profited from them. The suit claims the money was used for gambling in Atlantic City, N.J., and also for businesses the family owned in Lehighton - The Lehighton News Agency and the Downtown Grille.

The suit alleges well over $50,000 was stolen from estate accounts handled by Quinn. The suit names 10 estate accounts in which Hinkle allegedly stole money.

The suit charges, "these schemes include, among other things, outright theft, forgeries, and conversion of checks from Mr. Quinn's office operating account, his IOLTA account, as well as funds from various estates that Mr. Quinn represented."

The suit also charges, "Carolyn N. Hinkle's scheme included the participation of her husband, Myles Hinkle, and upon information and belief, other individuals, including family members, for the benefit of herself and Mr. Hinkle i.e., gambling, diversion of funds for the Hinkle's business enterprises, payment of medical expenses and other personal use."

The suit states because of the thefts the estates, through their managers or executors, have sued Quinn seeking repayment of the missing funds. The insurance company states in the suit that it has settled some of these suits by paying back the money to the injured parties and is seeking from Hinkle and his wife's estate repayment of the alleged stolen funds.

Mrs. Hinkle died on Jan. 17, 2008. Prior to her death, the suit claims, she admitted to police and others that she embezzled from at least three Quinn estate clients amounts greatly in excess of $50,000.

Mrs. Hinkle, nor her husband, were never charged by police with any criminal counts, it was noted.

The suit adds, "Since her death, however, investigation has revealed that the scope of her embezzlements and thefts was far broader, wider reaching and in sums greater than that to which she had admitted."

The suit states the alleged thefts occurred during the mid-1990s through January 2008.

The suit alleges, "Plaintiffs believe and therefore aver that Myles Hinkle, acting in concert with his deceased wife, Carolyn N. Hinkle, unlawfully and fraudulently began converting, diverting and/or misapppropriating funds from the operating account of Mr. Quinn's law firm, the accounts of Mr. Quinn's estate clients, and the Quinn IOLTA account and deposited some or all of those funds into individual, joint, and business accounts owned and controlled by Myles Hinkle and Carolyn N. Hinkle and appropriated those monies to businesses owned and/or operated by Myles and Carolyn N. Hinkle and for the personal use of Myles and Carolyn N. Hinkle and their family, including but not limited to gambling activities."

The court is asked to enter a judgment against all defendants for a full and complete accounting of all IOLTA funds disbursed to Mrs. Hinkle from the inception of the accounts to her death and require such accounting to be paid for by the defendants.

The court is also asked to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs against all defendants and hold them "soley liable, jointly and/or severally liable" on all claims made and with interest, costs of the suit and fees as "authorized by law."