The Punxsutawney Spirit

Police: Christ the King lost $169K to former CEO’s racketeeri­ng

- By Matthew Triponey Of The Spirit

DUBOIS — The former administra­tor and CEO of Christ the King Manor is facing 36 charges, including first-, secondand third-degree felonies, on allegation­s that he stole from the DuBois retirement community during his tenure, resulting in losses of over $169,000.

Samuel Joseph Zaffuto, 64, Sykesville, was charged Friday at District Judge David Meholick’s office in DuBois. His charges include corrupt organizati­ons, theft by failure to make required dispositio­n of funds, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and access device fraud.

Zaffuto is also known in the community as a board member and president of the Sykesville Ag & Youth Fair, and Vice President of the Pennsylvan­ia Associatio­n of County Fairs. He also handled accounting records for the Sykesville fair.

Zaffuto began his employment with Christ the King Manor in 1985. He was promoted to administra­tor and CEO in May 2004. He continued in that position until June 4, 2019, when he was placed on administra­tive leave because of “numerous issues of serious concern,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed at Meholick’s office. His employment was terminated on July 12 that same


In February 2021, Christ the King Manor requested investigat­ion by the Pennsylvan­ia State Police. Wessel & Company Accountant­s and Advisors was retained to conduct a forensic audit, the results of which were received a month later.

The audit made the following allegation­s against Zaffuto, between the dates of May 13, 2017, and June 4, 2019:

1. He allegedly concealed two bank accounts that were not authorized by Christ the King Manor. He allegedly diverted funds to one of the accounts. The other, referred to as the “Charity Account,” contained over $151,000 in various donation funds and over $21,330 from the Glen and Ruth Mengle Trust that had been intended for Christ the King Manor’s use. Zaffuto allegedly was using them for personal reasons, including to support the Sykesville fair. Other payments were made to known individual­s.

2. He allegedly purchased a new 2018 Ford F150 truck at approximat­ely $58,000 in June 2018. It was financed at 7.79 percent, higher than the market interest rates. Because of this, a monthly payment was deducted from Christ the King’s bank account. Zaffuto allegedly used the trucks for personal purposes, though it was registered in Christ the King’s name. The purchase did not have authorizat­ion from Christ the King Manor.

3. He allegedly used vendor accounts to purchase food for the trailer he took to fairs and festivals, at an amount of about $20,000.

4. He allegedly used Christ the King’s credit card for personal expenses of about $1,500.

5. He allegedly directed employees to conduct business for the Sykesville fair while being compensate­d by Christ the King. These duties were outside the scope of what had been authorized by Christ the King’s board. For example, the employees were not working at the approved booth Christ the King had at the fair. The audit estimated the resulting financial loss to Christ the King at over $21,000.

6. He allegedly invited several employees to attend the annual State Fair Convention in 2018 and 2019, while having their wages paid by Christ the King Manor. The estimated loss totaled over $1,000, and Zaffuto reportedly paid himself $1,440 to attend as well.

7. He allegedly failed to provide Christ the King Manor with approximat­ely $24,000 of profits made by the auxiliary committee’s concession­s booth at the Sykesville fair.

The total loss to Christ the King Manor as a result of all the aforementi­oned activities was estimated at $169,179.49.

Zaffuto was released upon posting $100,000 bail. A preliminar­y hearing is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. May 27 before District Judge James Brian Glass.

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