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June 11, 2014

Jaques embezzlement case settled

ELIZABETHTOWN — A plea agreement requires Lawrence R. Jaques to repay former employer Torrance Construction Inc. a total of $717,822.86.

The lifelong Keene resident pleaded guilty Monday in Essex County Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny, a felony.

The restitution included in the agreement is in satisfaction of “account transactions” that Jaques admitted making through his employer’s account, in addition to large sums of money he took by writing checks to himself and cashing them.

HELD IN JAIL

A former Keene town councilor and past member of Keene Valley’s AuSable Club, Jaques was arrested by State Police on Dec. 12, 2012, under suspicion of embezzling funds from Torrance, where he had worked as a bookkeeper since 2000.

Initially, he told police he had been writing checks to himself and cashing them, admitting that the amount stolen was in excess of $50,000.

He has been held in Essex County Jail since he was arrested.

SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan, who presented the plea agreement, was brought in as special prosecution for the case due to potential conflicts of interest in Essex County.

Documents indicate Jaques began misappropriating funds in 2006, writing checks to himself totaling $45,121.89 that year. 

Checks he cashed totaled $58,670.25 in 2007, $71,570.07 in 2008, $85,725.64 in 2009, $59,665.36 in 2010, $79,894.25 in 2011 and $66,896.69 in 2012.

The additional $250,278.71 in restitution is for items Jaques purchased for himself through Torrance Construction’s business accounts, court documents show.

COOKED THE BOOKS

In an interview Tuesday, Hogan said that, during the court session, Jaques itemized — in his own words — what he bought for himself through Torrance accounts.

Jaques ordered the items and had them shipped to his residence at 200 Schaefer Road in Keene, the prosecutor said.

"They included a refrigerator, a washer/drier, a trailer, cameras and parts for his Model A — there were a lot of them (car parts)," Hogan said.

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