Waynesboro police probe missing funds

February 11, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro Police are investigating the embezzlement of up to $100,000 from the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp., the Waynesboro Retail Bureau and the Greater Waynesboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

A chamber spokesman said Friday that Julie Small, an administrative assistant in the agency's office, confessed to taking the money when confronted by the chamber's executive director Monday.

Small spoke briefly about the case in a telephone interview Friday evening.

"At first I didn't think I wanted to comment, but I'm better off if I do. All I can say is that I made a huge, huge mistake and I want to make it right, then go on with my life," she said.

Small said she had some personal financial difficulties, but would not elaborate.

"I don't know how to explain it other than that," she said. "I didn't spend the money on fancy cars or luxury items."


Small, 40, was fired Wednesday, according to Carol Henicle, the chamber's executive director. She had worked there since 1992 with an annual salary of about $15,000.

No charges have been filed, according to Waynesboro Police Sgt. Ray Shultz, who is leading the investigation.

Small said she has not hired an attorney.

Stephen Kulla of Waynesboro, a chamber board member and its spokesman in this case, said an independent auditor is being hired to determine how much money is missing.

The amount could exceed $100,000, he said. It is believed the embezzlement goes back to at least 1996, and ran through this year, he said.

The biggest apparent loss was in the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp., whose books are handled by the chamber office, Kulla said. The corporation is being represented by attorney William Dick of Waynesboro. Dick was unavailable for comment Friday.

Money is also missing from the Waynesboro Retail Bureau, whose books are handled by the chamber office, according to Kulla.

Kulla said the embezzlement involved certificates of deposit owned by the development corporation.

He said the certificates were cashed, the cash was deposited into the corporation's bank account and then checks were written from the account to the Chamber of Commerce. The money was then taken out of the chamber account for personal use, he said.

Police have been asked to investigate forgeries on the certificates of deposit, Kulla said.

Checks from the development corporation's account were supposed to be signed only by agency members, Kulla said.

Kulla said Small has been remorseful and forthcoming since the confrontation with Henicle.

"By being so forthcoming it may be helpful to Julie," Kulla said.

He said Small is talking about making full restitution, but there is doubt about the value of her assets, if she has any.

The chamber has hired attorney Jack Sharpe of Chambersburg, Pa., to represent its interests in the case. Sharpe said Friday he knew little about the case.

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