Former Dummer town clerk indicted on 25 charges related to theft of almost $140k in fundsBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
September 20. 2017 12:40AM
LANCASTER — Eighteen months since she attempted to confess to stealing money from the town, former Dummer Town Clerk Mariann C. Letarte has been indicted on 25 felony charges alleging she misappropriated nearly $140,000 in municipal funds.
A Coos County grand jury on Friday indicted Letarte, 56, who had been Dummer’s town clerk/tax collector since 2007, on 21 counts of forgery; three counts of theft by unauthorized taking; and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card.
The last two offenses are Class A felonies punishable by 7½ to 15 years in prison, while conviction on a forgery charge, which is a Class B felony, would result in a prison term of 3½ to seven years.
Letarte was fired by the Dummer Board of Selectmen on July 19, 2016, four months after the selectmen learned of what appeared to be discrepancies in the town’s accounts payable. She also was subsequently removed from her posts as Dummer’s administrative assistant and emergency management director as well as the bookkeeper and an EMT for the volunteer Milan & Dummer Ambulance Service.
The discrepancies were found by the CPA firm of Carew & Wells, which in a report wrote that there was “… compelling evidence of the misappropriation of funds” — totaling $103,623.03 — as well as “attempts to conceal these items from the selectmen and treasurer and intentional misstatement of the town’s financial statements” from Jan. 1, 2011 through March 31, 2016.
Later, Carew & Wells also looked at Dummer’s accounts payable and motor vehicle registrations and concluded that between 2009 and 2015, $43,401.59 in receipts were both “unrecorded and undeposited … .”
The indictments estimate that Letarte illegally took a total of about $139,000 from the town and that she forged the names of selectmen Richard Ouellette, Cassandra Tefft and Dennis Bachand on town checks that Letarte made payable to herself and to other parties.
She allegedly used a town credit card to spend more than $1,500 on airline tickets, passes to Disney World and hotel rooms.
Letarte admitted to the town that on March 30, 2016, she had spoken with Berlin police “… to confess what I had been doing at the town office in Dummer …”
But she was referred to New Hampshire State Police Troop F because that agency, not Berlin police, had jurisdiction over criminal investigations in Dummer, which does not have its own police department.