Woman pleads guilty to embezzling from Abenaki group

November 13, 2021 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A second woman accused of embezzling more than $100,000 in federal funds from Abenaki Self Help Association Inc. has pleaded guilty.

Louise Larivee, 63, of Swanton, pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling from the nonprofit on the third day of a jury trial in Rutland, federal prosecutors said.

Her co-conspirator, Candy Thomas, previously pleaded guilty to federal program embezzlement.

Between 2013 and 2017, Larivee was employed by the Abenaki Self Help Association as director of a federal grant program, while Thomas worked as a bookkeeper, prosecutors said. The association received tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding from the U.S. Labor Department each year.

Thomas issued checks and gave cash to Larivee at Larivee’s request in amounts that exceeded her compensation, prosecutors said. Larivee also received travel reimbursement checks based on inflated mileage claims and Thomas sent tax forms to the IRS that concealed the amount of funds that went to Larivee, prosecutors said.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced next month and Larivee will be sentenced in March. Both women face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Phone messages were left with their attorneys.