Federal Fraud Offender Sentenced for Contempt
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Deborah L. Whitney, of Eden, age 46, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge William K. Sessions, III, to 41-months in prison for contempt of court. Judge Sessions ordered that the new prison term be served consecutive to Whitney's existing term of imprisonment for fraud.
Whitney has been incarcerated since late 2009, when she was sentenced for various fraud offenses. Generally, during 1995-2007, Whitney held herself out to the public as a financial bookkeeper, and fleeced multiple Vermont businesses and individuals out of over $650,000 in a series of embezzlements and frauds. In 2008 she was indicted on federal fraud charges. She pleaded guilty in early 2009, and in September, 2009, Judge Sessions imposed a 41-month term of imprisonment. She has been serving that sentence since late 2009.
After imposition of the 2009 sentence it was discovered that, while subject to pretrial release conditions on the 2008-09 case, Whitney had continued to embezzle, in violation of court-ordered release conditions barring further offenses. In particular, Whitney persisted in defrauding Arthur's Department Store in Morrisville, and its owners Arthur and Theresa Breault, during her 16 months of release until she surrendered to serve her first 41-month sentence, stole over $100,000 more. Based upon those violations of the court's release order, in June, 2011, Whitney was indicted a second time, for contempt of court and various tax violations. After pleading guilty in December, 2011, Whitney appeared before Judge Sessions again today for her second sentencing.
Judge Sessions bluntly expressed dismay at Whitney "flagrant" contempt of court and violations of pretrial release, in addition to her victimization of the Breaults. He observed that Vermont defendants are often released pretrial, so that they have an opportunity to demonstrate remorse and rehabilitation before sentencing, and that Whitney abused that trust invested in her by the court. Judge Sessions also observed that the closure of Arthur's Department Store, caused in part by Whitney's fraud, had broader ramifications to the community beyond the Breaults, including lost jobs and a large vacant store front in downtown Morrisville. Prior to imposition of sentence, both Theresa Breault, and the Breaults' only daughter, Adrienne Breault Stanton, addressed the court.
Whitney was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Service for return to prison. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Darrow. Whitney was represented by attorney David Sleigh.