Beaver County Tax Collector Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling Tax Payments
Almost everyone grumbles about paying taxes. Childfree people complain about parents getting all the tax credits, and almost everyone would like to see public funds spent differently from how they are being spent, although no two people’s visions of what they would do if they were in control of the public treasury are exactly alike. Think about how angry people get about elected officials misusing taxpayer funds, and it stands to reason that they would be angrier if someone was simply stealing it for their own personal use. While the defendant in this week’s news story did not use the embezzled public funds for extravagant purchases the way the defendants in some high-profile PPP fraud cases did, the fact remains that she pocketed people’s income tax payments. If you are a public sector employee accused of embezzling money from your employer, contact a Pittsburgh white collar crime lawyer.
Pennsylvania Embezzlement Laws
The Pennsylvania law that defines the crime of embezzlement is section 3927. The difference between embezzlement and just plain theft is that, in the case of embezzlement, someone had entrusted the money to the thief’s care and trusted the thief not to steal it. The most famous cases of embezzlement involve an employee in a managerial position stealing money from their employer. In that case, the employee has access to the money but has a responsibility to be transparent about how they spend it and can only make transactions with the consent of certain other decision-makers in the company. Fraud and embezzlement overlap considerable, so many defendants who embezzle money from businesses, clients, or estates of deceased people get charged with fraud instead of or in addition to embezzlement.
In the News
Until the summer of 2019, Joanne Bowser was the elected tax collector for Center Township and the Central Valley School District in Beaver County. Beginning in December 2011, she embezzled tax payments that she received on behalf of the county, sometimes pocketing cash payments that tax payers submitted directly to her and other times writing checks to herself drawn on a bank account used for tax payments. She also underreported her income on her 2016 tax return. By the time she got caught in 2019, she had embezzled more than $1 million. She was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return and could have faced a 23-year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine. She pleaded guilty in April 2021, and in February 2022, she received a sentence of 13 months in prison.
Contact Gary E. Gerson About Financial Crimes Defense
It is still possible to face a long prison sentence even for crimes that do not involve drugs, violence, or sex; people have been sentenced to what amounts to life in prison after financial crimes convictions, which is why you need a defense lawyer. A white-collar crimes defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for financial crimes such as fraud or embezzlement. Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.