BURLINGTON, VT - The U.S. Attorney's Office has charged Kimberley Brooks, 47, of Brownington, with embezzling approximately $160,000 from her employer, Desmarais Equipment in Orleans. Brooks pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Burlington. Oct. 18, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a three-count indictment charging Brooks with wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen money and forging checks of her former employer. According to the indictment, Brooks was employed as a bookkeeper for Desmarais Equipment Inc., a farm equipment and recreational vehicle distributor in Orleans. The indictment alleges that between September 2008 and March 2011 Brooks embezzled the money primarily by stealing cash from funds being deposited into the bank and altering deposit slips in an attempt to cover up the theft. It also accuses Brooks of causing several company checks to be issued to herself or others without authorization, then depositing the checks into her personal account. According to court records, the embezzlement was detected in May 2011 and Brooks was promptly fired. The U.S. Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty. If convicted, Brooks faces up to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Brooks on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled.