Thursday, May 9, 2019

Minersville Woman Charged with Theft for Stealing Over $97,000 from Schuylkill County Council for the Arts

A Minersville woman has been charged with theft after an investigation found that she had stolen over $97,000 from the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts.

According to Pottsville Police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky, in February 2019 the Pottsville Bureau of Police was contacted by representatives of the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts (SCCA), located at 1440 Mahantongo Street, regarding the possible theft or misappropriation of funds. It was described to the Department that the SCCA is funded by the receipt of membership dues, grants and other donations, as they are a non-profit organization.

During the subsequent investigation Patrolmman Grant Yoder learned that Caroline Coyle, 54, Minersville, had begun receiving payments through the SCCA checking account. 

Further investigation revealed that from January 2014 to January 2019 Caroline Coyle received 223 payments totaling $97,932.25, while never being hired, employed or contracted by the SCCA. 

Additional investigative information led the investigation to find that multiple checks, which bore the signatures of a past executive director and board members, had been forged or altered by the payee. 

Interviews conducted throughout the course of the investigation provided information that no one from SCCA had ever authorized the payments.

A review of all checks issued through the account further found that dozens of checks written by Coyle had been accounted for in expense reports as “accounts payable” to various companies. 

Yoder confirmed with these companies that the information provided by Coyle in the reports was not accurate and had been falsified to cover the checks written to herself.

At the conclusion of the investigation Yoder completed a criminal complaint charging Coyle with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Forgery, Identity Theft, and Unlawful Use of a Computer, all felony offenses. 

An arrest warrant was obtained and Coyle turned herself in at Magisterial District Judge Reiley’s office on Thursday at which time she was arraigned by Judge Reiley who set bail at $100,000 unsecured pending a preliminary hearing.

Wojiechowsky said that prosecution of the case will be conducted by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, due to a conflict of interest within the Schuylkill County District Attorney’s Office.

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