The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 20, 2013

Former Penn Highlands bursar to repay stolen tuition payments via ARD

EBENSBURG — A former employee of Penn Highlands Community College has admitted to stealing more than $171,000 and was placed on the Accelerated Rehabilitive Disposition program.

Teresa Pelow, 54, of the 100 block of Colgate Avenue in Westmont, was sentenced to 36 months on the program, which allows a defendant’s record to be cleared if all terms are met.

But key is the repayment to the college plus court costs for a total amount due of $173,486 at the time of the plea.

She was able to pay $36,197 in partial restitution and agreed to a repayment plan of $150 per month.

“Restitution must be made in full at the final ARD hearing,” court documents stated.

Pelow, 54, was employed by the college as bursar, a position that included bookkeeping duties. She was responsible for processing money taken in for tutition, lab fees and related payments, according to Richland Township police Detective Thomas Keirn.

Police were alerted after college officials discovered a large discrepancy in money that was being collected from students for tuition payments.

A forensic audit by Boyer & Ritter Certified Public Accountants & Consultants of Camp Hill showed Pelow withheld deposits that should have been made into the Penn Highlands account on 452 occasions and altered a computer program to make it appear that the deposits were made.

The initial loss was set at $156,000, a figure that increased to $171,363, according to court documents.

She was charged with multiple counts of theft by deception, receiving stolen property and related charges.

Pelow was terminated by the college in 2012.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.

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