Ex-Plaistow finance director may try to settle theft case prior to trialBy JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
September 03. 2014 10:49PM
BRENTWOOD — Plaistow’s former finance director may try to settle a felony theft case brought by prosecutors who allege she overpaid herself $20,000 with town funds.
Janet Gallant, 52, elected to enter into settlement talks with a judge and county prosecutors to see if she can strike some kind of plea agreement prior to her trial, according to court records.
Gallant, of Pelham, allegedly siphoned money from town coffers between May 10, 2012, and Nov. 1, 2012.
She was fired last Sept. 4 and arrested by Plaistow police three months later after an investigation into suspicious payroll transactions. A grand jury in Rockingham County Superior Court indicted Gallant in May on a Class A theft charge, punishable by up to 7½ to 15 years in state prison.
Gallant has pleaded not guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court, and remains free on bail.
She was hired in Plaistow in April 2011, after having worked in Pelham as finance director between 2005 and 2010, according to town officials. She resigned from her post in Pelham as part of a mutual agreement with the town in 2010, town officials said. She faces no charges from her time in Pelham.
Plaistow town officials hired an outside accounting firm to audit Gallant’s work after finding the payroll transactions. The audit concluded that Gallant had allegedly overpaid herself on several occasions, totaling more than $20,000, police said.
Town officials say they should be covered by insurance, but hope to recover as much money as possible from Gallant.
The settlement talks are set for Sept. 19, and include a private discussion with a judge, the prosecution and defense. If the talk does not result in a negotiated deal, then Gallant is expected to go on trial.