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Pelham had employed finance head charged with embezzlement

By Jason Schreiber
Union Leader Correspondent

December 06. 2013 9:04PM

PLAISTOW — The former finance director charged with stealing from the town worked in Pelham before she was hired in Plaistow, but an official said there was no sign of trouble during her tenure there.

"We had audits on a yearly basis and there were no indications of any problems during her tenure here," said Ed Gleason, chairman of the Pelham Board of Selectmen.

Gleason said Janet Gallant began working as Pelham's finance director around 2005 and resigned in 2010. He said her resignation was a "mutual agreement."

"There was no evidence of any misdoing," he said. "I can't reveal anything further than that."

Gallant, 52, of Pelham, is accused of embezzling an estimated $20,000 during her time working for Plaistow. She was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

Plaistow town officials hired an accounting firm in January to audit Gallant's work after they became concerned about financial discrepancies related to suspicious payroll transactions.

Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said Gallant made unauthorized electronic payments and that an audit found that she had allegedly overpaid herself on several occasions, totaling roughly $20,000.

The Rockingham County Attorney's Office and Plaistow police were notified and began a criminal investigation after an independent investigation of the finance office raised significant concerns about Gallant's handling of town funds, according to Fitzgerald. Gallant was hired in Plaistow in 2011 and was fired in September. While the town has insurance to cover the loss, town officials hope to recover the money.

Gallant was released on $50,000 personal recognizance bail and is scheduled to appear in court in January. Gallant could not be reached for comment this week.

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