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January 5, 2013

Police: Nearly $500,000 stolen from local builder's business

KEENE — State Police report a tally of $467,544 missing so far from Torrance Construction Co. business accounts.

Lawrence Jaques, the contractor’s former bookkeeper and a past Town of Keene councilman, remained in Essex County Jail on Friday.

Questioned by police in December, Jaques allegedly admitted that he stole money by cashing checks from his employer, a local builder based in North Elba. At the time, police said that more than $50,000 had been embezzled.

The suspect bank records were turned over to police.

State Police Investigator Jeremy Viele said the nearly $500,000 figure is only an estimated total. 

“The complainant is still going through and finding other concerns with the business,” he said Friday.

The investigator would not divulge precisely the manner in which the money was allegedly swept from the company’s accounts or say anything further about the criminal proceeding.

But last month, police issued a statement indicating Jaques, 63, wrote checks to himself and cashed them, then made false entries in the accounting books to cover for the misspent money.

Evidence in the case is being turned over to Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague’s office for prosecution, Viele said.

Sprague did not return several phone calls seeking additional information on the court process.

Ray Brook-based State Police arrested the bookkeeper on Dec. 12, 2012; he is charged with second-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.

He had worked as a bookkeeper for Torrance for 12 years, since 2000.

Email Kim Smith: kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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