News and Press Releases

Parkside Rental Agent James Pumpelly Imprisoned on Federal Fraud Charges

July 31, 2012

Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that James Pumpelly, 65, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, who formerly resided in Barre, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Brattleboro to 24 months of imprisonment following his guilty plea to two counts of fraud. Pumpelly's convictions stemmed from the collapse in 2008 of Parkside Management and Rentals Co., a property management company in Montpelier. Senior U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha also ordered that Pumpelly serve a three-year term of supervised release when he gets out of prison and pay restitution of slightly more than $300,000 to the 30 victims of his crimes. Because of medical issues, Pumpelly was permitted to remain free until October 2, when he must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence.

On February 25, 2009, a federal grand jury in Rutland returned a five-count indictment charging Pumpelly with embezzling money from a federally-funded program; theft of Government money; bank fraud; and travel fraud. According to court records, Parkside Management was in the business of managing residential apartment units owned by landlords, mostly in the Central Vermont area. Parkside was owned by Julie Clemons, Pumpelly's former girlfriend, but was run primarily by Pumpelly. On behalf of its client landlords, Parkside screened tenants for the rental units, entered into leases, collected rents and security deposits and provided maintenance for the properties. Parkside charged the landlords a fee that represented a percentage of rents collected. Many tenants in the properties Parkside managed were the beneficiaries of rent subsidies paid by the Vermont State Housing Authority and the Barre Housing Authority. These rent subsidies were funded by grants from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Beginning in about October 2007 and continuing until Parkside's demise in January 2008, Pumpelly misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of rent money, including but not limited to federal rent subsidy money, that Parkside collected on the landlords' behalf. Instead of paying the profits over to the landlords, Pumpelly instead diverted the rent money to his 
benefit and that of Ms. Clemons.

The indictment also accused Pumpelly of participating in a $30,000 fraud against another landlord that occurred just days before Parkside went out of business. According to the indictment, Pumpelly enticed the victim to turn over $30,000 to him and Clemons, purportedly in exchange for a one-half interest in a house in New Hampshire that Pumpelly and Clemons were leasing, renovating and intending to purchase. Unbeknownst to the victim, Pumpelly had already defaulted on the lease, and the property and the victim's $30,000 investment was lost.

This case was investigated the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Montpelier Police Department.

Pumpelly is represented by Frank Twarog. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.

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