Woman Pleads Guilty For Stealing Over $500k

(RepublicanInformer.com)- Last week, a Springfield, Maine woman pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud after stealing $587,219 from a company where she worked as the office manager.

Jessica Pechtel, 35, was employed as office manager for a business in Somersworth, Maine where she had full access to the company’s finances, bank records, accounting records, and company credit card. The US Attorney’s office did not release the name of the company.

Using her access to the company’s finances, from January 2019 to March 2021, Pechtel made unauthorized purchases and transferred funds to accounts she controlled, according to US Attorney John Farley.

The investigation conducted by the Secret Service, the Somersworth Police Department, and the Nashua Police Department found that Pechtel transferred money out of the company’s bank accounts into her own account and used the company credit card to make personal purchases from retailers, including Amazon. She also used the credit card to make payments via the online payment transfer system, Venmo.

But she wasn’t done. Pechtel also wrote 17 checks payable to herself from the company’s bank account. She also stole nearly $44,000 in COVID relief funds that was intended for the company.

After Pechtel’s guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Farley said the case demonstrates how closely the Justice Department works with law enforcement partners to “identify and prosecute white-collar criminals” ensuring that they are “held accountable for their crimes.”

In May of last year, the Department of Justice established a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal resources across federal agencies to investigate and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters the efforts to investigate and prosecute both domestic and international criminals while assisting agencies tasked with distributing relief funds to help prevent fraud.

Pechtel’s sentencing is scheduled for July 7.