Massachusetts bookkeeper admits rich life financed by thievery

Dorothy Giard appeared in Salem, Mass., Superior Court accused of stealing $1.7 mil from a Lawrence, Mass., company where she worked as office manager and bookkeeper.  

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Dorothy Giard quietly lived richly in a modest Boston suburb for years, traveling the world, driving luxury cars, wearing designer clothes and jewelry. Even her walkways and driveway were heated.

Friends and neighbors were curious about her source of wealth but assumed it was either inherited or resulted from profitable investments. After all, Dorothy wasn’t highly paid as the bookkeeper and office manager of a small steel fabrication company.

The truth recently emerged when a grand jury indicted the 44-year-old on charges of embezzling $1.7 million from her longtime employer, Diamond Ironworks of Lawrence, Mass., starting in 2007. Prosecutors said she cooked the company’s books to cover up her thievery.

Giard pleaded guilty to the charges Wednesday. A judge sentenced her to serve six months in jail, with another 18 months suspended during a 10-year probationary period. He also ordered her to repay the stolen  $1.7 million.

Stephen Doherty, owner of Diamond Ironworks, wasn’t happy with the sentence. He wanted her to spend more time behind bars, saying anything less would deny him justice.

Doherty described Giard as someone he inherently trusted and who his family socialized with over the years. He said she systematically bled money from the company’s bank accounts to pay her credit card bill and make unauthorized personal purchases.

Prosecutors said Giard spent most of the embezzled money on vacations to London, New York and Las Vegas, timeshare payments in Florida and Aruba, Lincoln MKX and Mercedes automobiles, household improvements and plumbing supplies for her husband’s business.

Notably, the list also included $20,000 in spa services.

Details for this story were provided by the North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune.

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