Po­lice: Up­per Bern of­fi­cial stole $80K

The Republican Herald - - POLICE / COURT - BY FRANK ANDRUSCAVAGE Staff Writer Con­tact the writer: fan­dr­us­cav­age@re­pub­li­can­her­ald.com; 570-628-6013

HAM­BURG — The for­mer sec­re­tary-trea­surer of Up­per Bern Town­ship, Berks County, was charged with steal­ing more than $80,000 from the town­ship.

State po­lice at Ham­burg charged Tonya J. Schaner, 34, of Ham­burg, with theft, theft by de­cep­tion, re­ceiv­ing stolen prop­erty, theft by fail­ure to make re­quired dis­po­si­tion of funds and ac­cess de­vice is­sued to an­other per­son.

Schaner was ar­raigned by Mag­is­te­rial Dis­trict Judge An­drea Book and re­leased on $30,000 un­se­cured bail pend­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

Trooper Alyssa Becker said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the theft be­gan on March 8, when she was sent to the town­ship of­fice at 25 N. Fifth St. where Schaner was sus­pected of steal­ing money from the town­ship while serv­ing as its trea­surer.

Becker said Schaner was em­ployed by the town­ship as sec­re­tary-trea­surer be­tween Jan. 23, 2011, through Feb. 8 and that dur­ing that time she was re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing town­ship records and the proper re­port­ing of the fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion to the town­ship su­per­vi­sors.

Fur­ther, Becker said, Schaner had ac­cess to the town­ship’s bank and credit card ac­counts.

Due to a sig­nif­i­cant loss in town­ship funds, solic­i­tor Gretchen Sterns con­tacted Mark Zet­tle­moyer with RKL Au­dit Ser­vices Group to re­quest a foren­sic au­dit of spe­cific ac­count­ing records, Becker said.

The foren­sic au­dit in­cluded the ex­am­i­na­tion of orig­i­nal doc­u­ments pro­vided by the Up­per Bern Town­ship su­per­vi­sors, re­ports pro­duced from the town­ship’s ac­count­ing sys­tem and also doc­u­ments from ex­ter­nal sources in­clud­ing BB&T Bank, Na­tional Bank, Elan Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and Lowe’s.

Becker said the foren­sic au­dit re­vealed a “mul­ti­tude” of un­ap­proved trans­ac­tions and fal­si­fi­ca­tion of credit memos by Schaner to­tal­ing $81,115.70.

Schaner will now have to an­swer at a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing be­fore Book at 9 a.m. May 30.

Becker said that in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent, Sterns made the fol­low­ing state­ment: “The Up­per Bern Town­ship su­per­vi­sors were shocked by this be­trayal of our trust. The town­ship is co­op­er­at­ing fully with law en­force­ment to bring swift and fair jus­tice and will use ev­ery le­gal means at our dis­posal to re­cover the tax­pay­ers’ money so that the town­ship’s op­er­a­tions and ser­vices con­tinue as nor­mal.”

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