They Get Caught, But The Money Is Always Gone
* * *
A SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK woman, Virginia DeCaprio, 52, was in court yesterday (Monday) facing charges that she stole nearly $500,000 from the Charlton Fire District No. 1 while she served as treasurer and secretary from 2005 to 2010. In an apparent plea deal, she admitted guilt to second-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, both felonies. She is now facing a prison term of 3 to 9 years.
The Saratogian reports:
Prosecutors say she used fire district credit cards to purchase items, including 18 printers, 11 computers, digital cameras, a washer and dryer, iPods, a refrigerator and freezer, a 12-bottle wine cooler and a wishing well lawn ornament that was displayed in her front yard until shortly before her arrest.
She also wrote 374 checks to herself totaling more than $50,000 and 136 checks to her husband totaling more than $40,000 and paid herself $272,000 for hours she could not prove she had worked.
DeCapria’s brazen thefts were staggering considering the small size of the volunteer fire department which, in 2011, had 40 volunteer members and a $308,723 budget. The year before, in 2010, DeCapria paid herself $158,187 — more than half of the district’s entire tax levy for that year.
"DeCapria stole taxpayer funds, which were paid by residents of the fire district for fire protection, not for Mrs. DeCapria to buy iPods, laptops, plastic surgery, cigarettes and Schwann’s frozen food delivery for herself and her family," Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said in a statement.
She is free on bail until she is sentenced on May 6. Read the entire article in The Saratogian HERE.
* * *
IN BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, the former financial secretary of the Warrington Community Ambulance Service is in jail for want of bail after being charged with stealing more than $642,000 from the firm in a 4-year period.
Danette Lewchick, 56, was arraigned Monday on charges of theft, forgery, computer trespass and dealing in the proceeds of illegal activities. If convicted on all charges, she could face more than 40 years in prison. District Judge Jean Seaman set April 1 for Lewchick’s preliminary hearing.
She became the ambulance services’ financial secretary in 2008, three years after filing for bankruptcy to get out from under more than $400,000 in debt, including $40,000 owed to casinos in Atlantic City, according to court records. By April 2008, she had full control of bookkeeping records.
Her attorney, Jeffrey Solar, said his client has "a severe gambling addiction."
Police began their investigation into the ambulance services’ financial records last year. Warrington Ambulance is partially funded through public money, but also takes in donations and insurance payments for the cost of services.
Investigators started by reviewing the ambulance company’s Citizens Bank account. They said they found that during a two-week period in July 2012, Lewchick allegedly took cash, had checks written out to herself and made ATM withdrawals from the account for a total of $82,000, most of which had been transferred into her personal account. Additionally, two board members said their signatures, which were needed for authorization, on the checks had been forged, police said.
Police then checked in to other accounts and said they found checks written to "cash" or to Lewchick between 2008 and 2012 ranging in amounts of between $600 and $25,000. According to court records, cash withdrawals and ATM transactions were made by her on those accounts as well.
Investigators compared the actual bank statements with the records kept by Lewchick and found the records were altered to match forged banking records, according to court records. They also discovered that Lewchick was making fraudulent payroll entries that enabled her to receive pay beyond her entitled amount between 2008 and 2012, police said.
To further their investigation, police reviewed video surveillance of some of Lewchick’s ATM transactions. They said many of the withdrawals were made at Parx Casino in Bensalem, or at bank branches in Upper Southampton and Bensalem — between the casino and Lewchick’s home and job. Other transactions were completed in Quakertown, police said. Gift cards to Sands Casino, other items associated with Pennsylvania casinos and a one-way plane ticket to Las Vegas were found in Lewchick’s car, court records show. Detectives further reviewed state Gaming Control Board records and found that Lewchick had been frequenting Parx Casino since August 2010, but had also been gambling at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.
The story goes even deeper than that. Read the full report in PhillyBurbs HERE.