Jodi Lathrop Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion and Wire Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont – The Office of the United States Attorney announced that Jodi Lathrop, 53, of Bristol, Vermont, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion. U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III released Lathrop on conditions pending sentencing, which is set for April 1, 2024.
On January 24, 2023, the United States Attorney filed an indictment charging Lathrop with committing a scheme to embezzle from Claire Lathrop Band Mill (CLBM) d/b/a Lathrop Forest Products, a wood-logging and wood-chipping company based in Bristol, Vermont and co-owned by Lathrop’s husband and Lathrop’s brother-in-law. Lathrop served as CLBM’s bookkeeper, handling accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll.
According to statements made in court, between June 2014 and April 2020, Lathrop engaged in a scheme to embezzle from CLBM. Lathrop’s scheme included Lathrop writing unauthorized checks from the CLBM bank accounts to pay her personal credit card bills and Lathrop making unauthorized charges on CLBM credit cards to pay her personal expenses. For example, in July 2018, Lathrop charged $3,466.95 worth of household appliances on a CLBM credit card, knowing the charge was unauthorized, and had the appliances shipped to her personal residence for use in her personal residence.
Lathrop concealed the embezzlement in several ways. Lathrop falsely recorded the unauthorized checks in CLBM’s books as checks for legitimate business expenses, wrote false notes on some checks so they appeared to be for legitimate business expenses, and caused CLBM to file false tax returns which falsely deducted Lathrop’s personal expenses as legitimate business expenses.
Lathrop also filed false personal tax returns for each of the years from 2014 to 2019. Lathrop failed to report as income the embezzled CLBM funds, and therefore evaded paying personal income taxes that she owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
The indictment alleges that Lathrop embezzled more than $400,000 from CLBM over the course of the scheme and evaded personal income taxes in the amount of approximately $141,000. The actual amount of Lathrop’s embezzlement and evaded taxes will be determined by the U.S. District Court at sentencing.
As part of her plea agreement, Lathrop agreed to sell approximately 270.5 acres of land she owns and to use the proceeds to pay any restitution she is ordered to pay to the victims of her crimes.
Lathrop faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release. The actual sentence will be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code.
United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bristol Police Department for their investigation of this case.
The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ang. Lathrop is represented by Mark Kaplan, Esq.
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Updated December 11, 2023