ORLEANS— Jeremy Gingras, the former Harwich Chamber of Commerce executive director who was fired for stealing thousands of dollars from the chamber and its charitable foundation, will avoid a trial on embezzlement charges as part of a plea deal accepted Friday in Orleans District Court.
Through his attorney, Gingras pleaded guilty to two reduced charges and agreed to repay the Harwich Chamber of Commerce $30,000. He will also serve two years’ probation.
Attorney Matt Kelley told the court his client is a lifelong Harwich resident and a civic leader who had no prior criminal record. He began stealing from the chamber in small increments by ATM withdrawal in order to relieve financial pressures at home, and kept stealing in greater amounts.
“He always intended to pay it back,” Kelley said.
Gingras has had his home foreclosed upon, has had trouble finding work, and has suffered public humiliation because of his actions, counsel said.
“This has been completely devastating for Mr. Gingras,” Kelley said.
Assistant Cape and Islands District Attorney Katie Sugermeyer said she has been in communication with Harwich Police Det. Robert Brackett and representatives of the chamber, who favor the plea arrangement for Gingras.
“They are satisfied with the $30,000 he’s presented,” she said.
Outside the court, Gingras had no comment.
Read the complete story in this week’s Cape Cod Chronicle.