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Press Release

Northfield Man Sentenced to 27 Months for Embezzling $558,625 from ValleyNet

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

Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont stated that on June 27, 2024, John Van Vught, 73, of Northfield, Vermont, was sentenced by United States District Judge Christina Reiss to a term of 27 months’ imprisonment to be followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. Van Vught was also ordered to pay $558,625 of restitution to ValleyNet. Van Vught previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud on February 22, 2024.

According to court records, from 2010 through July 2022, Van Vught was employed as an accountant for ValleyNet, a non-profit operator of fiber-to-the-home internet networks in east-central Vermont. As part of this work, Van Vught provided accounting services, including managing company bank accounts, which allowed him to execute electronic funds transfers and pay bills from ValleyNet accounts. Between approximately 2013 until July 2022, Van Vught embezzled approximately $558,625 from ValleyNet’s accounts by conducting electronic transfers. After Van Vught’s embezzlement was suspected in the summer of 2022, Van Vught provided intentionally erroneous documentation to ValleyNet leadership in an attempt to further obfuscate his theft. After being confronted with evidence of his crime by ValleyNet leadership, Van Vught fled Vermont, initially traveling west to New Mexico, then back east to Brunswick, Georgia, where he was apprehended by the FBI.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the investigatory efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt. Van Vught was represented by Federal Public Defender Michael Desautels.


Media Inquiries/Public Affairs Officer:

(802) 951-6725

Updated June 28, 2024

Asset Forfeiture
Financial Fraud