Hollis woman pleads guilty to stealing $350,000-plus from Gold’s Gym fitness clubs

CONCORD – A 25-year-old Hollis woman is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to committing wire fraud and embezzling more than $350,000 from a network of Gold’s Gym fitness clubs in Nashua and five other communities.

Nikki Donovan, who managed payroll records for the gyms, inflated her salary over a period of about 30 months, between January 2011 and July 2013, according to court documents. She worked at that time for a consortium of businesses in Nashua, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford, Goffstown and Hudson, owned collectively by two entities.

Donovan falsely reported the number of hours she worked for the health clubs when she compiled weekly payroll reports and submitted them to a payroll company in North Reading, Mass., court documents showed.

Donovan reportedly confessed to stealing money from her former employer during a taped interview with a Nashua police detective Sept. 13. Donovan allegedly told the officer she used about 80 percent of the money to buy Percocet, a painkiller to which she was addicted, and to receive treatment to get off the drug. The remainder went toward debts, according to court documents.

The overpayments to Donovan weren’t discovered until August 2013. Owners of the clubs decided to hire a new payroll manager a short time before. The move prompted Donovan to resign, according to court documents.

Donovan agreed to waive her right to bring the matter before a grand jury and pleaded guilty to an information charging her with wire fraud. In exchange, court documents show, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence on the low end of the sentencing guidelines. Donovan is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17.