CHESTER COUNTY, PA (WPMT) — A former township manager in Chester County has been accused of embezzling more than $3 million over a seven-year span, according to District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan.
Lisa M. Moore worked for Kennett Township for more than 20 years, the last nine as township manager, Hogan said Tuesday in a press release.
Moore, 46, lives in Kennett Square.
“She was a trusted and long-time employee,” Hogan’s release said. “She stole money intended for employee benefits, the police department, land preservation, and other township operations. She used the stolen money for extravagant personal expenses such as clothes from Gucci and Chanel, jewelry, and travel to places like Italy and France.”
Part of Moore’s elaborate ruse, Hogan said, even involved pretending to be married to obtain illicit spousal benefits.
She was terminated by Kennett Township officials once the fraud was discovered, Hogan said.
“This case is all about greed,” Hogan said in the release. “The defendant was well-compensated, with an annual salary of over $100,000. But she decided to live the high life, funded by taxpayers of Kennett Township. There is no excuse for such a blatant abuse of position and trust.”
Hogan said authorities began investigating Moore in April, when Kennett Township Police received a report from the Capital One Fraud Department related to money transfers by Moore. The matter was turned over to the Chester County Detectives.
When the detectives began their investigation, Moore was vacationing in France, Hogan said in the release.
The investigation uncovered what Hogan describes as “a long-running, multi-pronged scheme” to steal money from the township, Hogan said.
Moore’s subterfuge included paying money to herself without recording the disbursements in the township’s records. On other occasions, she’d pay the money to herself, but would record the payments as being made to known and normal vendors of the township, Hogan said.
Other schemes were more elaborate, according to Hogan.
For example, he said, Moore managed to raise her salary to over $200,000 by claiming she worked over 3,000 hours, which equates to working roughly 10 hours a day for every single day of a 365-day year. In 2017, she recorded 3,612 work hours, and awarded herself a salary of $295,000 for those fake work hours, Hogan said.
Moore also allegedly used a rubber stamp of the Kennett Township supervisor’s signature to write herself checks from the township’s account for her personal use, Hogan said. She also allegedly had a township credit card in her own name, which she used to make $696,000 in purchases.
Hogan also accused Moore of laundering money by secretly moving it from township accounts to her own.
She even created a fake marriage to defraud the township, Hogan alleged. He said Moore pretended to be married to a man named Brian Gore, resulting in the township paying more than $50,000 in benefits to Gore — all taxpayer money, Hogan pointed out.
Moore also manipulated the township’s retirement savings plan to steal money and created fake comp time reports in an attempt to conceal her fraudulent activities, Hogan said.
She allegedly spent the stolen funds on travel to Las Vegas, Italy and France, purchases at clothing boutiques like Michael Kors, Gucci, and Chanel, jewelry, and for personal use with friends and family members, Hogan said.
In 2017 and 2018, Moore allegedly stole more than $2.2 million in taxpayer funds, Hogan said.
In all, she allegedly stole $3,249,453. She is charged with felony theft, forgery, computer crimes, and related offenses.
“This case is a reminder that a determined insider can always find a way to steal, using their knowledge of internal procedures and policies,” Hogan said. “Because of their inside information, these white-collar criminals are more difficult to stop than burglars or armed robbers. However, this case is also a reminder that public officials who steal from taxpayers eventually will be exposed, arrested, and punished.”