Deerfield woman must repay money to condo association

  • Jeanne Elizabeth Grover takes an oath in Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday. Her attorney, Mark H. Bluver, is next to her. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/22/2019 12:56:43 AM
Modified: 6/22/2019 12:56:30 AM

GREENFIELD — An embezzlement charge against a South Deerfield woman will be dismissed if she pays back nearly $11,000 to the Stillwater Condominium Association within one year.

Jeanne Elizabeth Grover, 47, appeared before Judge Karen Goodwin in Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday for a change of plea hearing. The embezzlement charge was continued without a finding for a year, during which she must return the $10,812.59 that cannot be accounted for from her time as the association’s elected treasurer.

Grover’s attorney, Mark H. Bluver, said the condo association has also filed civil litigation against his client and he hopes that monetary figure will be closer to $2,100 when a resolution is reached. Grover will be on probation for one year once the money is returned.

She is also accused of stealing money from the First Church of Deerfield, and on Wednesday she pleaded guilty to a charge of larceny under $1,200 stemming from that alleged offense. Bluver told Goodwin his client, who once worked as an administrative assistant at the church, is still a member there and “intends to make it right.” Bluver said Grover “has learned a significant lesson by her conduct.”

Former Stillwater Condominium Association unit owner Kirsten Bergstrom read a victim impact statement in which she detailed the financial hardship the embezzlement has caused the association. She said the alleged crime has taken a toll on unit owners’ peace of mind. Bergstrom said she has sold her unit and this experience was a significant factor in that decision. Grover has also moved out of her condo.

Bergstrom said the missing money came to light when the association needed to pay a large insurance premium and had no money for it.

“This act is a betrayal of ethics and trust,” she read aloud.

Grover eventually made the insurance payment with condo association money she had moved into her personal account. Bluver said there is no evidence Grover planned to permanently deprive the condo association of the money.

Grover was arrested on Sept. 21, 2017, following an investigation by the Deerfield Police Department.

According to an initial report filed by Deerfield Police Officer Adam Sokoloski in district court, a representative of the condo association came to the police station after being contacted by Greenfield Savings Bank’s fraud and theft prevention division, which reported that $18,173 had been transferred from the association’s account without approval over about five years.

Bergstrom asked Goodwin for a guilty verdict.

Bluver told Goodwin his client was previously under extreme emotional distress, though he acknowledged that is not an excuse.

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