News and Press Releases

Civil Forfeiture Complaint Filed in Relation to Alleged Embezzlement by Former Acting President of Southern Vermont College

February 21, 2013

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that on February 20, 2013, it filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to forfeit assets in the name of James Beckwith, the former chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Southern Vermont College. Beckwith had also served as acting president of the college in 2012.

According to the complaint and the accompanying affidavit of an FBI Agent, Beckwith embezzled $440,000 from the College between October 2012 and January 2013. He allegedly did this by fraudulently inducing college officials to issue three checks, for $100,000, $160,000 and $180,000, to Merrill Lynch. Beckwith falsely informed officials that the funds were to be used to settle legal claims arising from a failed dormitory project. In fact, the three checks were then deposited into a personal account Beckwith had at Merrill Lynch. Beckwith used $260,000 of the $440,000 to pay down two mortgages secured by his personal residence in South Londonderry. The complaint alleges that Beckwith’s residence, as well as the money in his Merrill Lynch account, are forfeitable as proceeds of mail fraud and as property involved in money laundering.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the allegations in the forfeiture complaint are merely accusations which have not yet been proven.

This case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Rutland and in Albany, New York. The Assistant U.S. Attorney handling the matter is Gregory L. Waples.

Return to Top