Grand Isle Embezzlement: Taxpayers, Non-Profit Ripped Off

Published 09/02 2014 06:35PM

Updated 09/02 2014 06:56PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. – A soon-to-be-fired treasurer for Grand Isle County pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge in federal court Tuesday. In total she stole roughly $100,000.

Theresa Blow admitted to embezzling from multiple institutions in Grand Isle County. The Burlington Free Press first reported the possible embezzlement in June. The embezzlements happened between 2010 and March of 2014.

As a twice a week book keeper for David Carter's law office Blow stole several thousand dollars.

According to court papers that was just the tip of the ice berg.

Blow embezzled roughly $63,000 from the Champlain Islands Parent-Child Center, according to the organization’s president. Blow served as a part time bookkeeper for the Parent-Child Center.

Court documents show she did it by writing fraudulent checks and forging signatures.

Blow also admitted to stealing from taxpayers. She was the treasurer in Grand Isle County and assistant judge Sherri Potvin says Blow embezzled roughly $40,000 from the county.

Blow was suspended without pay when the embezzlement came to light. Potvin says Blow will receive a letter of dismissal after a meeting of county officials Thursday.

Blow’s attorney said they had no comment when they were asked questions outside the courthouse.

Grand Isle County residents aren't happy about it.

“Stealing from not only the citizens of our town but also friends and neighbors, I deplore the action,” Grand Isle County resident Joe Soper said.

Others say it's happening far too often across Vermont.

“There's very poor auditing practices and I think that's ninety nine percent of it right there,” Andy Phypers said.

The parent-child center had to sell one of its buildings to make up the lost revenue.

Grand Isle County is sending one less sheriff's deputy to the police academy because of the lost money.

Both the county and the parent child center have insurance policies but they cover only a fraction of the amount that was embezzled.

Blow was released from federal court Tuesday on conditions. She is ordered to pay restitution to the Parent-Child Center and Grand Isle County. That amount will be determined at her sentencing in February.

Blow could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and receive a fine of $250,000 however Judge William K Sessions says because of the plea deal any sentence will likely be more lenient than that.

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