CLEARFIELD – A Bigler woman accused of using funds from the Wallaceton-Boggs Municipal Authority for her own gain waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Cynthia Carlson faces 20 counts of forgery, 28 counts of access device fraud, 62 counts of theft by unlawful taking and 62 counts of receiving stolen property.
Carlson worked part-time as a secretary for the WMBA for approximately a year. Police allege that during that time she used authority funds in the amount of $11,485.90 to purchase personal items and get auto repairs.
According to court records police began to investigate the case after they heard from WBMA board member Patricia Albert. She told police that she was suspicious of Carlson and brought it to the other board members’ attention. She said that at a meeting the board had on March 9 that they brought up the topic of Carlson forging a check. She said that Carlson said it was the only time it happened and apologized.
The affidavit of probable cause states that an investigation was performed, and that Carlson forged 19 checks for personal items from area stores and repair bills on her personal vehicle.
Board member Richard Shimmel was interviewed. He told police that Carlson had permission as part of her duties to sign checks, but that they also required the signatures of two board members. The affidavit stated on several occasions Carlson forged board members’ names. Shimmel said she forged his name on at least one occasion.
Police spoke with board members John Deacon, Albert, Shimmel and Tim Holt on March 30, 2009. Members told police that Carlson did not have their approval to sign their names. It was also reported to police during this time that Carlson made unauthorized purchases with WBMA funds at Wal-Mart, Philipsburg True Value, United Refining, Home Depot and Staples; purchased home heating fuel from Fuel and Save Inc. and got auto repairs at Centre Repair and Diamond Auto Glass and paid for electric bills. It was also reported to police that Carlson forwarded herself pay on several occasions.
On April 20, investigators went to Wal-Mart Supercenter in Clearfield and obtained surveillance of Carlson making a purchase.
Police met with board members again on April 22 as well as a person brought in to do an internal audit. Police said the auditor put together a spread sheet that was needed for evidence. According to records the spread sheet shows dates of purchases, where they were made, the amounts and if was forged, charged or signed for.
Albert told police that while they were going through the Penelec bills they came across an account that was not an authority account that was paid for on four occasions by the authority.
Police contacted Penelec, who eventually confirmed that the account question was Carlson’s. They told police that three times a check was used to pay a bill, while a fourth was paid using a checking account number.
The auditor was brought in and told police that while she was assisting Albert they learned that Carlson was paying her Penelec bills with authority funds. Two checks were discovered that paid two authority accounts. The balance of those checks was assumed to pay her account. The third check had an amount that didn’t match either of the authority accounts. They discovered an electronic transaction on a bank statement to an account that didn’t match either of the authority’s accounts.
A search was obtained on May 27, 2009 and faxed to First Energy’s legal department. They faxed a report back to police that indicated on July 18, 2008, Carlson used an authority check to pay a $262.68 bill that belonged to her. On Oct. 19, 2008 she payed Penelec $397.24 from an authority checking account, $361.65 of that went toward her account. On Dec. 12, 2008 Carlson, using authority funds, paid Penelec $1,206.49, with $179.86 used for her account.