BRATTLEBORO — A former Windham County assistant judge has been accused of receiving more than $8,500 for hours she did not work and is expected to answer to charges of false pretenses and grand larceny in February.
According to information from the Vermont State Police, Patricia Duff, 60, of Brattleboro, claimed 352 hours for work she didn't actually perform.
The investigation began last July after members of the Windham County Treasurer’s Office and the Vermont Judiciary notified the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations regarding Duff and the hours she reported working.
"Based on information provided and additional investigative steps taken, it was determined that between January and June 2022, Duff was paid $8,518.40 under false pretenses ..." states a news release from the VSP.
Duff was taken into custody on Thursday, cited and released on the condition that she appear in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, on Feb. 28.
Duff resigned in late July from the position she has held for 16 years.
Vermont has 28 elected assistant judges, also known as side judges, two for each county who serve four-year terms. In Windham County, they work out of the Newfane Courthouse.
They are responsible for the administration of the county budget and all other county affairs. They also serve in the judiciary as finders of fact in civil and family court alongside presiding superior court judges, hence the term “side judges.”
Joyce McKeeman, an assistant judge in Orange County who is the president of the Vermont Association of County Judges, told the Reformer last August that all of Vermont’s assistant judges have to be held to the very highest ethical standards, and that has to do both in their roles as judges for the Vermont judiciary, but also in their roles as county executives.
It is not the first time Windham County side judges have run into trouble. In 2016, former Windham County Side Judge Paul Kane resigned while he was under investigation for his handling of an elderly woman's estate.