White River Junction woman pleads guilty to defrauding Tunbridge employer

Published: 08-08-2023 4:19 PM

BURLINGTON — A 31-year-old White River Junction woman has pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge that she defrauded her employer, a well-known White River Valley towing company, by falsely inflating the hours she worked while she handled billing and payroll responsibilities for the company.

Chelsea Sunn pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Burlington on July 7 — the same day the non-grand jury indictment “information” charge was filed — according to a news release on Monday issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont.

Sunn was employed on an hourly basis between 2016 and April 2020 as an office worker at Blakeman’s Towing and Recovery in Tunbridge, where her duties included handling billing and payroll, according to court documents

During at least a 16-month period of her employment, Sunn — then known as Chelsea Roy — “defrauded Blakeman’s Towing and Recovery by falsely inflating the hours she reportedly worked,” which caused Blakeman’s “to pay Sunn tens of thousands of dollars beyond her authorized compensation,” the news release said.

Following her initial appearance in court and plea, Sunn was released on conditions pending sentencing, which is scheduled for December 4. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although the actual sentence will be determined according to federal sentencing guidelines.

Sunn did not respond to a message for comment. Kyle Blakeman, owner of Blakeman’s Towing and Recovery, declined to comment when contacted on Tuesday.

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