Former Saint Anselm College vice president pleads guilty to embezzlement

·2 min read

Aug. 1—CONCORD — A former executive at Saint Anselm College pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to stealing $66,000 from the college over two years.

Renee Crawford, a former assistant vice president of finance, had college checks issued to a company registered in her name, according to records available online through U.S. District Court in Concord. The payment was for logo designs and other work. The company — NH DESIGNZ — did no work for the college, according to records.

Crawford also used college credit cards for personal spending, including family vacations and theme park tickets, prosecutors said.

Under terms of a plea bargain, Crawford is in line for two years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and will be responsible for full restitution.

Crawford, 35, of Danville, appeared at a video hearing on Monday. Sitting next to her lawyer, she answered questions posed by Judge Landya McCafferty forcefully, following yes and no answers with "your honor" every time.

"Ms. Crawford deeply regrets her conduct. She accepts full responsibility. She intends to make full restitution promptly," Concord attorney Richard Guerriero said in a statement emailed to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Guerriero added that Crawford is grateful for the consideration of federal prosecutors and the college.

The thefts took place between April 2019 and February 2020 and involved $66,114. Crawford is charged with theft from a program receiving federal funds; court documents note that the Catholic liberal arts college receives grants and direct student loan funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

A spokesman for the college, Paul Pronovost, said the college would not comment on the matter. A representative of the college did listen in during the hearing.

Prosecutor John J. Kennedy said the college is eager to put the matter behind it, and doing so will speed restitution.

Before sentencing, she must undergo an investigation by federal probation authorities. McCafferty will then weigh the recommendations of probation officials, prosecutors and her lawyer. She's expected to be sentenced in November.

The maximum penalty for the crime is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

mhayward@unionleader.com