Officials in the small town of Weybridge say they had no idea their trusted town clerk and treasurer of more than 20 years has been stealing town funds for several years.
"We were surprised, we were disappointed of course and generally we felt bad for townspeople and for Karen," said selectboard member Steve Smith. Smith said Karen Brisson resigned last week and admitted to embezzling an estimated $150,000 from 2007 to 2011.
"It was taken in small bites and so we didn't feel the hit," Smith said.
Brisson didn't get caught, but she hired an attorney, came forward and then resigned. Her lawyer, Devin McLaughlin, said guilt finally got the better of her. "You get caught up in this sort of stuff and you want to stop and it just starts to build and build. And obviously she'd been a valuable employee for many years, knew everybody in Weybridge and it's just kind of killing her, you know, that this is happening and she's keeping it inside," he said.
Though the town won't know exactly how much Brisson embezzled until an independent audit is complete, her attorney said she's offering up the deed to her house to try to help the town recoup at least some of what she stole. "I can say it wasn't to lead any kind of extravagant lifestyle or do anything like that. She had debt and the debt starts taking over you and you start doing something that you shouldn't do," McLaughlin said.
Steve Smith admits there's never really been any oversight of the clerk or town treasurer in Weybridge, but he hopes that will change. He said the selectboard is reviewing new policies of oversight they hope to implement in the near future. "As an aggregate sum, it's a lot of money, but it was apparently done over such a long period of time and in smaller amounts, so we didn't notice," he said.
Though Brisson hasn't been charged yet, her attorney said he expects that will come once the investigation is turned over to the Vermont State Police.
Smith said the town will accept Brisson's concessions as repayment and any remaining losses should be covered by the town's insurance policy -- tax payers will not have to make up the difference.
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:57:59 GMT
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, are now facing federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations. Other colleges facing complaints include Swarthmore College, University of Southern California,More >>
Four colleges, including Dartmouth, face federal complaints over their handling of rape allegations.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:02 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:02:01 GMT
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home. Police say last Friday and again on Wednesday, they caught 34-year-old Jesse Johnson living in another man's homeMore >>
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:07 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:07:20 GMT
Montreal officials say the water in most of the city is unsafe to drink Thursday morning. A boil order has been issued through mid-day Thursday. They report ongoing work at the country's second largestMore >>
Montreal officials say the water in most of the city is unsafe to drink due to bacteria concerns.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:09 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:09:44 GMT
Another major Vermont brand is suing over trademark infringement. Magic Hat Brewing says the logo for Kentucky-based West Sixth Brewing is a rip-off of their Number 9 beer label. Magic Hat argues theMore >>
Another major Vermont brand is suing over trademark infringement.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:13 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:13:00 GMT
A Bennington developer has won the permits he needs to restart a 200-year-old hydro power dam. Bill Scully bought the old Vermont Tissue Mill back in 2008, and that's when he started his quest to reviveMore >>
A Bennington developer has won the permits he needs to restart a 200-year-old hydro power dam.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:15 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:15:11 GMT
New Hampshire's House says a casino isn't in the cards for the state. The House killed a bill that would have allowed 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games at a single casino, most likely at aMore >>
New Hampshire's House says a casino isn't in the cards for the state.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:22 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:22:53 GMT
A new study stays teen birth rates have hit an all-time low across the country. The authors of this study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention call it amazing. Some states saw as much asMore >>
A new study stays teen birth rates have hit an all-time low across the country.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:25 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:25:30 GMT
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money. As part of its Drive for Education Program, Berlin City Auto Group just donated more thanMore >>
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money.More >>