Maine Woman, Jessica Pechtel Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $500,000 From New Hampshire Company
(STL.News) Jessica Pechtel, 35, of Springvale, Maine pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud, United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Pechtel was the office manager for a company in Somersworth, New Hampshire. In that role, she had full access to the company’s finances, including its accounting records, bank accounts, and company credit card.
Between January 2019 and March 2021, Pechtel used her access to the company’s finances to make unauthorized purchases and transfers of funds to accounts that she controlled. This scheme had four distinct components. First, she transferred funds from the company’s bank accounts to her own accounts. Second, she used the company’s credit card to make unauthorized purchases from retailers such as Amazon or make payments via the online payment transfer system Venmo. Third, she drafted 17 unauthorized checks payable to herself that were drawn on the company’s bank account. And fourth, she stole almost $44,000 in COVID-19 relief funds that were intended for the company. Overall, Pechtel fraudulently obtained at least $587,219 from her employer.
Pechtel is scheduled to be sentenced on July 7, 2022.
“This defendant stole a significant amount of money and betrayed the trust of her employer,” said U.S. Attorney Farley. “As this case demonstrates, we work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute white collar criminals to ensure they are held accountable for their crimes.”
“The U.S. Secret Service is committed to investigating complex fraud schemes especially those that involve the exploitation of New Hampshire based businesses.” stated Timothy Benitez, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s New Hampshire Office. “The success of this investigation is due to the collaboration between the U.S. Secret Service, Somersworth Police Department, and Nashua Police Department.”
This matter was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Somersworth Police Department and the Nashua Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Hunter and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.