Jody Farnham Pleads Guilty to Embezzling from the University of Vermont
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 31, 2014|
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Jody Farnham, 55, of Burlington, pleaded guilty on January 28, 2014, in United States District Court in Rutland to a charge of federal program embezzlement. Chief Judge Christina Reiss released Farnham on conditions pending her sentencing, which has been set for June 16.
According to the information to which Farnham pled guilty, Farnham had been employed for a number of years by the University of Vermont (UVM), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Farnham was an office support specialist for the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, which provided educational, research, and technical consulting services to artisan cheese makers. VIAC offered courses and workshops in cheesemaking, and enrollees paid tuition to UVM to attend the programs. According to the information, Farnham began embezzling money from UVM in about 2006, and, before the thefts were discovered in late 2012, she stole not less than $185,000. Farnham embezzled much of the money by altering checks given to her by VIAC enrollees. Farnham changed the checks, which were made out to VIAC, to make her a co-payee. She then deposited the forged checks into her personal bank account. Farnham also stole some cash tuition payments and misused UVM credit cards to make personal purchases. During the time period of the embezzlement, UVM received substantial amounts of federal funding.
As part of her plea agreement, Farnham consented to the entry of a $185,000 forfeiture money judgment.
Farnham faces up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence will be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
This case was investigated by the University of Vermont Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.