Feds looking to prosecute Weybridge embezzlement

WEYBRIDGE — The embezzlement case against former Weybridge Town Clerk and Treasurer Karen Brisson will be adjudicated in U.S. District Court, as opposed to through the state judicial system.

That news was confirmed on Thursday by Weybridge officials and Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Waples, who will prosecute the case against Brisson.

It was this past November that Brisson resigned as clerk and treasurer after admitting to embezzling, over a five-year period, municipal funds that Weybridge officials have tentatively placed at between $100,000 and $150,000. The local selectboard has commissioned an independent audit of the town’s books to determine the exact extent of the embezzlement and how it was carried out.

That audit is still ongoing, according to Waples, who has considerable experience prosecuting embezzlement cases in the Green Mountain State. That experience includes successful cases against former Ira Town Treasurer Donald Hewitt, who a year ago was sentenced to 27 months in prison for taking around $350,000 from municipal coffers; and Tonya Drury, who on April 5, 2012, was sentenced to a prison term of a year and a day for embezzling more than $167,000 from the Bethel/Royalton Solid Waste Facility, where she worked as a cashier.

Waples said he offered the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s services to local authorities — including Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster — when he learned of the case against Brisson. The U.S. Attorney’s Office tends to have more personnel and resources to direct at such cases than state and municipal offices do, Waples noted. Vermont State Police continue to investigate the former Weybridge town clerk/treasurer, who has publicly professed her remorse and has offered to give the town a mortgage on her home as restitution for the offense. Weybridge officials have said the town’s insurance will cover the balance of any funds that Brisson is not able to pay back.

Meanwhile, three people have taken out petitions to run for town clerk and another four have taken out papers to compete for town treasurer. Those races will be decided on Town Meeting Day this March. As the Addison Independent went to press, only one of the candidates had returned papers to the town offices with the requisite number of signatures: Scott Wales, who is running for clerk and treasurer, according to Assistant Town Clerk Beverly Landon. The filing deadline is the end of the business day on Monday, Jan. 28.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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Addison County Independent

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