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Police: Former councilman stole close to $500,000

January 5, 2013

KEENE - State police now say a Keene man stole close to $500,000 from his former employer, much more than was originally estimated.

Lawrence Jaques, 63, a former Keene town councilman, was arrested on Dec. 12 for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 from Torrance Construction Inc. of Lake Placid, where he worked as a bookkeeper for 12 years. He has since been fired.

On Friday, the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation said Jaques actually embezzled $467,544.50 by writing checks to himself from the business's account, cashing them, keeping the money and covering up his tracks.

"That first amount was just an initial estimate," Investigator Jeremy Viele told the Enterprise. "We had a chance to look at his bank records and we realized it was going to be a higher figure, we just didn't know exactly what."

Viele said the current total isn't based on a forensic audit.

"That's just from checking the numbers based on Jaques' account records and what they (Torrance Construction) provided to me."

Viele added that it's too soon in the investigation to say whether the company will be able to recoup the money Jaques allegedly stole.

The investigation began after Torrance Construction contacted police to report that at least $50,000 had been stolen. After being interviewed by investigators on Dec. 12, Jaques confessed to the crime. He's being represented by Ron Briggs of the Lake Placid-based law firm Briggs Norfolk LLP.

Viele said the case has been turned over to the Essex County District Attorney's Office. DA Kristy Sprague could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Viele said Jaques is still being held in Essex County Jail.

Jaques served on the Keene town board from 2003 to 2011, and ran unsuccessfully for town supervisor in 2005.

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or



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