Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing More than $44K from Employer

CLEARFIELD – A Brockway woman who took more than $44,000 from her employer pleaded guilty during colloquy court in Clearfield County.

Melissa Ann Rummel, 35, 416 Broad St., Brockway, pleaded guilty to theft by deception and 27 counts of access device fraud. She was sentenced to 90 days to one year in jail and three years consecutive probation.

She was fined $520 plus costs. Her plea agreement required that she pay more than $44,000 prior to sentencing, which she did. Judge Paul Cherry questioned the restitution amount, which was listed at $68,505 previously. A restitution hearing may be scheduled later if the victims and the defense cannot resolve the $24,000 difference.

The thefts began, according to the affidavit of probable cause, in December of 2007 and continued through August of 2011. Rummel who was the general manager of the Best Western in DuBois manipulated the accounts receivable to cover shortages in deposits. After an audit of the accounts received, it was discovered that she had taken $27,734.99.

From Feb. 21, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2011, she received money for various bookings at the Best Western Conference Center from which she kept $15,450. Between Jan. 31, 2011 and April 11, 2011, she failed to deposit the correct amount of money received during daily business. The amount missing from those deposits is $1,296.95.

In addition, between June 10, 2010 and Sept. 28, 2011, she made 27 unauthorized credit card purchases using the company business card. The total amount of the purchases was $2,732.87.

After she was confronted about the thefts in April of 2012, the owner decided not to terminate her, but asked her to attend counseling. An agreement was drawn up with $300 to be deducted from her paychecks bi-weekly to pay back the debt. She paid $2,400 before charges were filed.

Police were contacted after it was discovered in September that Rummel was taking money again; this time $170 from the petty cash fund. The property manager asked that Rummel be charged for that theft and for the previous thefts dating back to 2007.

When police spoke with Rummel, she admitted to taking the money. She stated that since April of 2012, she had only taken money from petty cash and she had planned on replacing it.

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