Pennsylvania public college finance director will get 14 months for stealing $100k

(The Middle Sq.) – A Philadelphia-area public college finance director was sentenced to greater than a 12 months in jail after he embezzled $100,000 from a faculty district over a seven-year interval.

Christopher Gehris, an worker within the Phoenixville Space Faculty District and its finance director since 2018, stole $94,613 from the district, in line with a press launch from the Division of Justice.

“Gehris cashed checks made payable to himself and to ‘money,’ obtained checks and direct deposits into his private checking account for ‘start-up cash’ for scholar actions, stole money from college packages, and obtained reward playing cards for private expenditures,” the assertion mentioned.

He hid the theft by altering receipts and falsifying studies despatched to the board of faculty administrators.

“Criminals that embezzle public cash from colleges are ripping off tons of of scholars whereas additionally ripping off all taxpayers who fund them,”  U.S. Lawyer Jennifer Arbittier Williams mentioned.

Gehris had resigned from PASD after an inner audit discovered discrepancies and had been reported to native authorities. He shall be required to serve 14 months in jail and repay the embezzled funds. He had confronted a most penalty of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fantastic.

PASD employed an unbiased agency to conduct a forensic audit, which was made public after the Division of Justice’s investigation closed. It confirmed that Gehris spent cash on Lego kits and a Nintendo Change, NBA tickets for a Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers basketball recreation, a examine with “begin up cash” for its description, and different bills.

The audit indicated that the varsity district had an inadequate segregation of duties for money administration,  packages that had been “off-book” and “largely outdoors of the PASD management surroundings,” and restricted information of accounting within the enterprise workplace aside from Gehris.

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“​​In the present day’s ruling permits all events to start transferring ahead,” the district mentioned in a press release posted to its web site. “Mr. Gehris’s actions negatively impacted the scholars, dad and mom, neighborhood and District. The District thanks the Phoenixville Police Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US District Lawyer and the Federal Courts for his or her work and considerate deliberations.”

Whereas Gehris was embezzling cash, the district’s spending elevated from $78 million in 2012-13 to $91 million in 2019-20.