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Press Release

Louise Larivee Pleads Not Guilty To Non-Profit Embezzlement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Louise Larivee, 60, of Swanton, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to federal fraud charges.  U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Larivee on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled. 
On June 13, 2019, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a two-count indictment charging Larivee with conspiracy and federal program embezzlement.  According to the indictment, between 2013 and 2017, Larivee was employed by the Abenaki Self Help Association, Inc. as the director of a federal grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.  ASHAI functioned as a service arm of the Abenaki Nation, promoting economic and social development through programatic efforts in education, employment and economic development.  Each year, ASHAI received tens of thousands of dollars in grant money from the Department of Labor.  During that same period, Candy Thomas worked at ASHAI as an office worker and bookkeeper.  Thomas had check signing authority on ASHAI’s bank accounts.

The indictment charges that between 2013 and 2017, Larivee and Thomas conspired to embezzle, and did embezzle, more than $100,000 from ASHAI.  Thomas aided the commission of this theft by issuing checks and giving cash to Larivee, at Larivee’s request, in amounts that significantly exceeded Larivee’s authorized compensation.  Larivee also allegedly received travel reimbursement checks based upon fraudulently inflated mileage claims.  Thomas helped cover up this fraud by sending tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service that concealed the true amount of ASHAI funds that were being paid over to Larivee. 

Thomas has already pleaded guilty to related charges and is awaiting sentencing. 

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that Larivee is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty.

If convicted, Larivee faces up to ten 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 Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

Larivee is represented by David Kirby, Esq.  Candy Thomas is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth Quinn.  The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.

Updated June 24, 2019

Financial Fraud