Weare woman sentenced for embezzling Social Security and veterans benefits
A Weare woman has been sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $52,000 in Social Security and veterans benefits.
Heidi Lacerte stole the funds from 23 people while she was employed at the Office of Public Guardian, a nonprofit that serves hundreds of legally incapacitated people across the state, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office. According to court documents, the 48-year-old woman embezzled funds that had been paid to her office and placed in an account where they could be used for clients’ medical and financial needs.
Court documents show Lacerte was an estate manager for the office and took the funds over eight months in 2010 using three methods: writing herself checks from the beneficiaries’ accounts, purchasing gift cards using money from beneficiaries’ accounts and taking cash from the beneficiaries’ accounts.
Lacerte was arrested and pleaded guilty in November 2012. She’s been free on bail since then, but was ordered to report to prison and start serving her sentence April 12.
Under her plea agreement, Lacerte also agreed to pay $55,000 in restitution and be supervised for three years after her release.
TRICIA L. NADOLNY