Rutland, Vt. - Rutland Plywood Corporation's pension, fund may have been embezzled. Earlier this month, a federal grand jury in Rutland, Vermont returned a three-count indictment against Neiman Groce, accusing him of raising $88,000 from the 401K. He pleaded not guilty at a hearing last week, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont reported.  
 
Groce, 30, was charged December 2, 2015, after a federal grand jury in Rutland returned a three-count indictment against Groce for embezzlement, wire fraud and forgery.

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Rutland Plywood plant destroyed by fire

In Rutland, Vt., the Rutland Plywood plant was destroyed by fire. It's future hasn't been determined.


From 2008 and late 2012, Groce was employed by Rutland Plywood, a manufacturer of veneer laminates used in gun stocks and knife handles, among other items. After being promoted to Human Resources Director, Croce assumed responsibility for administering the company's section 401(k) employee retirement plan. According to the indictment, between June and November 2012, Groce embezzled approximately $88,000 from the retirement accounts of five former Rutland Plywood employees.
 
Rutland Plywood manufactures the veneer laminates in the handles of the knives seen above.
 
Groce allegedly 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 The forged forms contained directions that the money withdrawn from the employees' accounts be electronically transferred to one of two bank accounts that Groce controlled.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 were transferred into Groce's accounts.
 
The indictment charges 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.
 
If convicted, Groce faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.
 
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Vermont State Police. Groce is represented by the office of the Federal Public Defender. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.
 
Recent times haven't been kind to Rutland. The company downsized several times during the housing crash, and saw its entire plant burn to the ground from a fire in 2014. Most of its employees have taken jobs in other locations, and the company has not announced plans to reopen. Its veneer laminate materials such as Dymondwood, remain popular with manufacturers of gun stocks and knife handles.

 

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