An Omaha private investigator has agreed to plead guilty to scheming to defraud a client of more than $850,000.
In exchange for Patricia Walker-Halstead’s plea, federal prosecutors agreed to drop 10 other counts of wire fraud. She had been charged with 11 total counts of wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Walker-Halstead, 69, used payments from the client for personal expenses and gambling rather than on background checks and other security services.
A federal indictment alleges Walker-Halstead did not do investigative work, develop evidence or conduct background checks for the client.
Instead, authorities say, she lied to the client in emails and took $856,080 from her.
Walker-Halstead told her client she asked a Nebraska State Patrol investigator named “Scott” to assist with the investigation of her client’s security concerns, according to the indictment. Authorities said Scott never existed.
Walker-Halstead asked her client in an email to give Scott money because he was having financial troubles. She also indicated that he might be a potential love interest, authorities have said.
Walker-Halstead is scheduled to be sentenced in February. She could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. She has agreed to pay $250,000 in restitution before the sentencing date. The judge could order her to pay more restitution as part of her sentence.