A Maine woman admitted to stealing nearly $600,000 from her Somersworth employer in just over two years, including COVID-19 relief funds.

Jessica Pechtel, 35, of Springvale pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to wire fraud, according to United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire John J. Farley.

As the company's office manager, Pechtel had full access to the company's finances. According to Farley, she used several methods to access funds between January 2019 and March 2021.

She would transfer funds from the company's bank accounts to her own. Pechtel would also use the company's credit card to make unauthorized purchases from retailers such as Amazon or make payments via the online payment transfer system Venmo.

Pecthel also drafted 17 unauthorized checks payable to herself and stole nearly $44,000 in COVID-19 relief funds that were intended for the company.

The name of the company was not disclosed by Farley. Somersworth and Nashua police assisted with the investigation.

“This defendant stole a significant amount of money and betrayed the trust of her employer,” Farley said in a statement. “As this case demonstrates, we work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute white collar criminals to ensure they are held accountable for their crimes.”

Pechtel is scheduled to be sentenced on July 7, 2022.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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