Neiman Groce, 31, of Poultney, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Burlington to 18 months of imprisonment following his guilty plea to a charge of wire fraud.
On December 2, 2015, a federal grand jury in Rutland returned a three-count indictment charging Groce with embezzlement, wire fraud and forgery. According to the indictment, between approximately 2008 and late 2012, Groce was employed by Rutland Plywood Corporation. In 2012, Groce was promoted to Human Resources Director and assumed responsibility for administering the company’s section 401(k) employee retirement plan. According to the indictment, between June and November 2012, Groce tried to embezzle approximately $88,000 from the retirement accounts of five former Rutland Plywood employees. Groce accomplished the embezzlement by forging employees’ signatures on benefit plan withdrawal forms and faxing the forms to the company which managed the retirement plan. The forged forms contained directions that the money withdrawn from the employees’ accounts be electronically transferred to one of two bank accounts that Groce controlled. During that time, more than $75,000 in retirement plan funds was actually transferred into Groce’s accounts.
The indictment charged Groce with stealing an additional $3,000 from Rutland Plywood by forging and altering a series of company checks to third parties to make them payable to himself, then cashing those checks.
Groce pled guilty to the wire fraud charge last May.