SALISBURY – A New Hampshire woman facing 23 larceny charges after police say she stole nearly $50,000 from her ex-boyfriend to pay her mortgage, avoided jail time Tuesday during her appearance in Newburyport District Court.
Instead, Joanna Bertrand, 52, of Salem, New Hampshire, saw all charges generally continued for six months, the lowest form of probation. If Bertrand stays out of trouble with the law and stays away from her ex-boyfriend, the charges against her will be dropped after six months. Judge Jane Prince ordered Bertrand to pay $500 in court costs as well.
A court official said Bertrand had reached a civil court agreement with her ex-boyfriend well before Tuesday's court appearance and did not have to pay restitution.
Court records show Bertrand dipped into her ex-boyfriend’s bank account to transfer roughly $2,200 a month to pay her Quicken Loans Mortgage account. The man went to Salisbury police and showed then-Sgt. Richard Dellaria three years worth of bank statements from September 2016 to June 2019. All told, his account was tapped for $49,793.
The man provided police with a text from Bertrand acknowledging the withdrawals but stopping short of claiming responsibility.
“I just learned my mortgage payment has been coming out of your account by notification of a stop payment," Bertrand wrote, according to then-Salisbury police Detective Keith Forget’s report. "I didn’t realize the payment was coming from your account. Can you contact me to make arrangement to get you paid back.”
A check of Bertrand’s mortgage statements showed she continued to fall behind on payments, prompting her to withdraw money from the man’s bank account.
While dating, Bertrand and the man never shared a bank account or any other finances. They broke up in 2016. It was only after a new girlfriend looked at his bank statements in June 2019 that the man realized Bertrand was siphoning money out of his account, Forget wrote.
Forget contacted Quicken Loans officials and asked how the victim’s account number could be connected to Bertrand’s mortgage account.
“They stated that it would be Joanne Bertrand who controls which account the money is drawn from, and not by their bank,” Forget wrote in his report.
Soon after calling Quicken Loans, Forget filed charges against Bertrand, according to court records.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @drogers41008.