N.H. woman pleads guilty to stealing nearly $742,000 from Norway employer

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PORTLAND — A New Hampshire woman has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to interstate transportation of stolen checks and tax evasion after she embezzled nearly $742,000 from her employer, U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Wednesday. 

Janis Woods, 65, of Conway, N.H., faces up to 15 years in prison and over $2.05 million in fines. She will be sentenced after completion of a pre-sentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office, Delahanty said in a news release. 

According to court documents, between 2009 and 2012, the longtime bookkeeper for Norway-based Grover Gundrilling Inc. used an official stamp with the name of the company’s chief executive officer to issue herself 169 unauthorized checks totaling over $742,000. She deposited them into bank accounts at three separate locations in New Hampshire.

During that time, the lawsuit alleges she wrote approximately $679,000 in personal checks from her account, $480,000 of which went to Fire 21, a pizza restaurant in Conway, N.H., owned and operated by her son. 

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Grover Gundrilling President Charles Hester reportedly discovered financial irregularities and confronted Woods about them in January 2012. Court documents said Woods could not explain the discrepancies and left work, saying she was not feeling well. She never returned and was fired shortly after. 

Between 2007 and 2009, prosecutors said she also used her position as bookkeeper for VM Foods of Conway, N.H., to issue herself $220,000 in unauthorized checks and failed to report funds on her federal income tax returns, evading nearly $284,000 in taxes. 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. 

Grover Gundrilling Chief Executive Officer Garth Grover declined to comment on the case. The family-run precision-drilling company employs 75 people, according to court documents.

ccrosby@sunjournal.com

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