Manon Cote Pleads Not Guilty to Embezzling From Newport Employer
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Manon Cote, 45, of Newport, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to three federal charges stemming from an alleged embezzlement from her employer. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Cote on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled.
On March 21, 2013, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a three count indictment charging Cote with mail and wire fraud and forging checks of an organization. According to the indictment, Cote was employed as office manager for DeLaBruere’s Auto Sales, Inc., a new and used car and truck dealership in Newport. According to the indictment, between 2006 and January 2012, Cote embezzled approximately $400,000 from DeLaBruere’s, primarily be stealing cash from the daily receipts she was responsible for depositing into the company’s bank account. Cote allegedly tried to cover up the thefts of cash by writing company checks to unauthorized payees in amounts equal to the sum of cash she was stealing, then depositing the checks back into the company bank account. In issuing those checks, Cote used without authority the signature stamp of the owner of DeLaBruere’s.
According to the indictment, Cote stole additional company funds by improperly issuing checks to herself; by using company funds to pay personal loans; and by using the company credit card for personal reasons.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty.
If convicted, Cote faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
This case was investigated by the Vermont State Police and the U.S. Secret Service.
Cote is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.