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Former police chief’s wife pleads guilty to stealing from her father

The wife of the recently retired Deerfield police chief has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $250,000 from her father, a disabled veteran, according to records filed in U.S. District Court.

Documents show that Amy Greeley of Newfields was named fiduciary for her father in 2002 and was responsible for ensuring that he received disability payments made by the Veterans Administration.

An investigation by the VA in 2012 revealed Greeley had transferred money from her father’s account into her own, then spent it, according to a plea agreement reached in September.

The plea agreement states that Greeley admitted to misappropriation by a fiduciary. She is scheduled to be sentenced March 17 and could face up to five years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.

Her husband, Michael, was not charged. He announced his retirement as Deerfield’s police chief in November, effective at the end of last year. He had been with the department for 12 years.

“I will be taking a full-time job in the private sector and starting another career,” he wrote in a letter to the community dated Dec. 18.

Amy Greeley, reached this week by phone, said her husband’s retirement was not connected to her case.

“My only comment is I made a mistake that I obviously regret,” she said. “My husband’s retirement has absolutely nothing to do with this. He had his time in, and that was that.”

Greeley, 43, said she has lived in New Hampshire for nearly 35 years. She said she worked as a special education teacher before joining the state Department of Education several years ago.

Her name remains on the Department of Education’s online employee listing, but Greeley said she left recently because of medical issues.

Greeley’s father, whose name is not mentioned in court filings, lived in Florida at the time his daughter became fiduciary, records show. He still lives there, said Donald Feith, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case.

Greeley’s father was receiving housing, living expenses and care, according to court papers, in addition to the payments overseen by her.

According to court records, monthly benefits of $2,163 were made by the VA through direct deposit to an account managed by Greeley at Citizens Bank in Exeter. The sum later increased by $500 a month.

Because Greeley’s father was completely disabled, court papers show, annual accounting records were required from Greeley, which she submitted for each filing period through 2010.

In her filings dated Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010, Greeley claimed her father’s estate was worth $242,431, records state, with more than $239,000 of the assets held in certificates of deposit, or CDs.

In December 2010, the VA Fiduciary Unit in Manchester asked Greeley for supporting documentation on the CD accounts. Her delay in complying triggered a misuse inquiry, records show.

In January 2012, special agents from the VA’s criminal investigations division met with Amy and Michael Greeley at their home, documents show.

“Defendant stated that she had served as her father’s VA fiduciary for approximately 10 years and that money was gone, as she had spent it all,” the plea agreement reads. “She stated that she initially began taking smaller amounts such as $200, but she ended up increasing the amounts over time.”

Filings made by Greeley at the end of 2010 stated she’d deposited a total of $244,856 in her father’s name into her bank, most in the CDs, with an additional $5,720 in a checking account. She also indicated that the CDs generated interest of more than $3,310.

In truth, court papers indicate, there were no CD accounts and only $67 in a separate checking account.

The total sum of misappropriated funds equaled $251,534, according to court records.

Reached by email, Jeffrey Levin, Greeley’s court-appointed defense lawyer, had no comment.

Feith, the prosecutor, said yesterday his office will ask the court for a reduced sentence, based on the plea agreement.

“She’s probably looking at somewhere in the vicinity of 18 months to 24 months,” Feith said. “That’s my best estimate right now, but we won’t know until the day of sentencing what the guideline is that the court adopts.”

As for the fine, Feith said he’ll ask for restitution.

“Rather than pay the government a fine,” Feith said, “we’d rather see the victim receive it.”

Greeley said that her father’s needs are being met, and that he is receiving “appropriate medical care.” She added: “He has not been harmed in any way, shape or form from what I did, and it has not affected him in any way.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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