Bristol woman pleads guilty to embezzlement and tax evasion

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BRISTOL — Jodi Lathrop, 53, of Bristol, has pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Burlington to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion. Following her plea, U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III released Lathrop on conditions, with sentencing scheduled for April 1, 2024.

Lathrop, indicted on January 24, 2023, was charged with embezzling funds from Claire Lathrop Band Mill (CLBM) d/b/a Lathrop Forest Products, a Bristol-based wood-logging and wood-chipping company co-owned by her husband and brother-in-law.

As the company’s bookkeeper, Lathrop was responsible for accounts receivable, payable, and payroll.

Court statements reveal that from June 2014 to April 2020, Lathrop wrote unauthorized checks from CLBM bank accounts to pay her personal credit card bills and made unauthorized personal expenses on CLBM credit cards. She concealed these actions by falsely recording transactions in CLBM’s books and filing false tax returns that deducted her personal expenses as business costs.

Additionally, Lathrop filed false personal tax returns from 2014 to 2019, failing to report embezzled funds as income, thereby evading personal income taxes. It’s alleged that she embezzled over $400,000 from CLBM and evaded approximately $141,000 in taxes. The exact amount will be determined at her sentencing.

As part of her plea agreement, Lathrop has agreed to sell around 270.5 acres of her land to pay restitution to her crime’s victims.

She faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release, with the actual sentence to be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the United States Code.

United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest recognized the efforts of IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bristol Police Department in investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ang is the prosecutor, and Lathrop is represented by Mark Kaplan, Esq.

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