Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trial Ongoing In $600K Embezzlement Case In Pennsylvania

From the Delaware County Daily Times on 11/18/14:

The part owner of Aston-based Pop Tuna Builders continued his testimony Tuesday in the trial of former bookkeeper Ruth Phillips, who is accused of bleeding approximately $600,000 from the construction firm between 2007 and 2013.
John D’Annunzio continued to identify hundreds of checks offered by Assistant District Attorney Brian Doherty that he claimed he did not authorize and did not sign, many worth thousands of dollars and payable to Phillips or her credit card.
Phillips, 55, of the 700 block of Hill Avenue, Aston, is facing forgery and theft charges for allegedly writing the checks on company accounts, which D’Annunzio said he never checked because he had an accountant and a bookkeeper to handle the business side of things.

D’Annunzio, who identifies himself as “an outside guy,” said he and brother Vincent D’Annunzio took over the family business, previously D’Annunzio and Sons, after their father died in 2007. Their father had hired Phillips in late 2004, he said, and the brothers kept her on as a bookkeeper after his death at the same rate of $500 per week.
But D’Annunzio said he discovered in 2013 that Phillips lied to him about how much money was in company coffers, leading to an investigation that revealed hundreds of allegedly bogus checks had been cut on a QuickBooks program Phillips administered. He said Phillips broke down crying and confessed to the thefts – originally thought to be about $300,000 – when she was confronted by the brothers and attorney Mark Much in March 2013. Phillips allegedly gave the D’Annunzios $45,000 from a savings account and signed over her house to make partial restitution.
D’Annunzio told defense attorney Robert Keller Tuesday that Phillips collected the mail, handled bookkeeping and filed bank statements, which he never asked to see.
He said Phillips was not supposed to deal with vendors or municipalities and that he did not direct her on entering information into the QuickBooks system for any of the corporations associated with various developments the construction firm was working on.
“I never, ever once told her how I wanted her to register that check (on the software),” he said. “Not once. I didn’t know anything about that.”


Read the whole story here.

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