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Ex-tax collector pleads not guilty to theft charges

September 20, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The former Mercersburg, Pa., tax collector who lost her bid for re-election last year when questions about her private business practices surfaced pleaded not guilty to theft charges Wednesday.

Sharon L. Selser, who owned Selser's Business Services in Mercersburg, is charged with three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds. The business delivered vehicle registration and title work to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for area residents.

Selser, 45, of 245 N. Main St., Mercersburg, waived arraignment in Franklin County Court Wednesday and will be listed for the November trial term.

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She was charged after Mercersburg Police received a complaint from Bryan Sipes, owner of Sipes Trucking, who said he wrote three checks to Selser's business for nearly $2,900 between January 2000 and July 2001 to obtain various permits, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The checks were cashed, but PennDOT was never paid for the permits, according to allegations in the affidavit.

Sipes said he never received any paperwork and has since had to pay fines and penalties, the affidavit said.

Sipes said he contacted Selser numerous times by phone and in person and was told she had not received anything, the affidavit said.

Selser paid a $1,000 fine last year for failing to keep accurate records at her business. She had been charged with engaging in unprofessional conduct/incompetency, according to records in District Justice David E. Hawbaker's office.

Sales transaction paperwork was incomplete and disorganized, according to the charging documents.

Motor vehicle forms were not chronologically organized and other paperwork was not sent to PennDOT within the required five days, charging documents said.

Selser was again under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police just prior to last November's election.

Selser lost her position as Mercersburg tax collector to Richard Nelson, a retired mail carrier who launched his write-in campaign barely a week before the election when it became public that she faced legal problems.

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