Police: Upper Bern official stole $80K
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.”