Former U of Vermont Employee to Plead Guilty to Embezzlement

Former UVM Employee Agrees to Plead Guilty to Embezzlement Charges

embezzlementA former employee of the University of Vermont plans to plead guilty to embezzlement charges.

Jody Farnham, who was an administrative supporter with the school’s Department of Artisan Cheese, was arrested on embezzlement charges after she allegedly stole $185,000 over six years, starting in 2006 and ending in 2012.

Reportedly, she altered tuition checks from enrollees in the cheesemaking program. She made herself a co-payee on the checks, then deposited the funds into her bank account. She is also accused of using UVM credit cards for personal purchases.

The case began a year and a half ago when Tom Vogelmann, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received an anonymous letter “alleging redirection” of registration funds for the college’s workshops.

“We started an investigation of the finances at that time,” Vogelmann said. He received the letter on July 17th, 2012. Farnham resigned on January 28th, 2013. The FBI assigned an agent to the embezzlement case on July 19th, 2013.

University spokesman Enrique Corredera said, when asked why the embezzlement was not detected sooner: “Part of UVM’s mission is to foster economic development. Such activity often requires subsidizing programs that lose money but which will lead to economic growth. That was the case with VIAC.” The department’s revenue relied mainly on federal funds that dried up just after the embezzlement case began, and since the program sometimes ran in the red and sometimes in the black, it was hard to tell when potential fraud could have occurred.

Farnham began working for UVM in 2003. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, with her plea agreement, she will likely face a forfeiture of $185,000, and less jail time.

A hearing on the plea agreement has not yet been scheduled.

Corredera also issued the following statement by email Wednesday:

“We are deeply disappointed that our trust was so fundamentally violated, but at the same time we are confident that we are doing all we can to reduce embezzlement risk to a minimum. We are implementing a centralized online registration system for non-credit courses to address this area of vulnerability.

“Additionally,” Corredera continued, “the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is taking all the necessary steps to strengthen its system of checks and balances across all its operations. Ultimately, this is about risk management, not risk elimination. Our people are our most valuable resource, and we consider this to be a rare case.”

Federal Embezzlement Charges in South Carolina

Embezzlement charges carry severe penalties. The defendant risks ruining his reputation and loss of employment even if they are later found not guilty of the crime. Punishments for those convicted of embezzlement can include fines, imprisonment, probation, payment of compensation and loss of legal rights among other potential punishments.

For an individual to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove:

1.     The defendant manipulated resources illegally

2.     The victim entrusted the defendant with these

3.     resources that were allegedly embezzled

4.     The defendant intended to deprive the owner of

5.     these resources

6.     The defendant acquired access to these resources

7.     through his/her employment

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Embezzlement and Other Federal Charges

If you or someone you know is facing embezzlement charges, contact our office today to get the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who can review your case and determine your best course of action. We offer free, confidential consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.

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