Secretary held for court in theft of over $81,000
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Former Lower Towamensing Township secretary Dorothy Achey (attempting to cover her face) is joined by family members as she exits the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton on Wednesday. Achey waived her right to a preliminary hearing.
A former Lower Towamensing Township secretary who is accused of stealing more than $81,000 from the township is headed to Carbon County Court.
Dorothy Achey, 61, of RD2, box 336-2, Kunkletown, waived her right for a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton.
As a result, Achey will now appear before the county Court of Common Pleas at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 5 for a formal arraignment and pretrial conference.
Achey remains free in lieu of $100,000 unsecured bail.
A township employee for more than 20 years, Achey abruptly resigned from her position in May due to "personal reasons."
Last month, she was arraigned before Appleton on 102 counts each of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, and misapplication of entrusted property and property of government or financial institutions.
At that time, Appleton ruled that Achey had to be fingerprinted by state police before her preliminary hearing, had 48 hours to file for a public defender or notify the court of a private attorney, had to furnish court with an Illinois address, and had to attend the Carbon County Pretrial Intervention Program through the adult probation office and follow all recommendations.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Patrick Finn:
On May 4, township solicitor Jim Nanovic was contacted by township Supervisor Glen Hahn and advised that Achey had apparently stolen $19,229.21 in April, 2009.
On June 5, Nanovic contacted Pennsylvania State Police at Lehighton to advise they wanted Achey arrested for the theft. Nanovic advised that he believed the amount to be in excess of $50,000, the affidavit says.
He advised that Achey had written herself an unknown amount of checks to defraud the township of money. He advised that most of the checks were for the amount of her weekly or bi-weekly gross salary, however, she had dispersed several checks per month over the amount that her salary had allotted.
Achey was "writing wages" on several of the checks. The wage amount was different on several checks. The checks were all written by Achey from the township's checking account held with the First National Bank of Palmerton.
On June 17, an accountant report was prepared by the accounting firm Kirk, Summa & Co.
The report indicated that the total amount taken by Achey was $81,067.35. Achey did write and cash 102 checks from Jan. 02, 2008 to April 29, 2009.
On Aug. 29, Achey spoke to Finn at the Pennsylvania State Police Lehighton Station. She advised that she did steal the money from the township's bank account. She advised that she wrote at least several dozen checks to herself, cashed them herself, and no longer has the money from the thefts.
She did not know the number of checks she illegally wrote to herself, nor did she know the total amount she had stolen. She advised that she had been taking money from the account since early 2008.