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Upper Darby Employee Arrested for Embezzling Township Funds

Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Katayoun Copeland announced the arrest of an Upper Darby Township employee who stole more than $200,000 from township taxpayers.

Jessica Smith McCusker, 36, of the 7800 block of Park Avenue in Upper Darby, is facing multiple theft charges including 6 counts of the following: theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. All of the crimes are felonies of the third degree.

The arrest comes at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by Detective Michele Deery of the District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division Economic Crime Unit which began on May 22, 2017.

McCusker had been employed at the Upper Darby Tax Office for 15 years. On May 22, 2017, the supervisor of the tax office went into McCusker’s desk drawer to retrieve an office form. In the drawer, the supervisor found cash receipts for payments of residents’ taxes. On May 23, 2017, the supervisor confronted McCusker who could not explain why the receipts were in her drawer. The supervisor checked the office’s computer records of tax payments. The supervisor discovered that the monies taken for those receipts had not been posted. The supervisor then reported the incident to Upper Darby Township officials. They met with McCusker, who failed to explain what happened to the missing tax payments. Township officials immediately suspended McCusker effective June 2, 2017. On June 5, 2017, McCusker called the Upper Darby Township Finance Director and stated that she was considering resigning from her position at the tax office.

Upper Darby Officials conducted an internal investigation. They determined that McCusker took cash payments from taxpayers, gave each taxpayer a receipt, but did not post the payments to the office’s computer system. Rather, McCusker posted them to an earlier day that was already reconciled to conceal her theft from the township and the taxpayer.

On June 21, 2017, Criminal Investigation Division Detective Deery and Sergeant William Wright went to McCusker's residence to interview her. McCusker admitted to committing the thefts over the course of several years. She told the detectives that some of the money was used to move with her children from her marital residence to an apartment. She said that she used the money to rent the apartment, pay tuition, and pay credit card debt. In a later interview with McCusker, she said her drug habit escalated from 2015 until her termination, and she used the stolen money to buy drugs.

Beginning in December 2017, Upper Darby officials gave real estate tax, and trash and sewer records to the Delaware County’s Criminal Investigation Division. Forensic Financial Analyst Edward Lowitz of the Criminal Investigation Division conducted a forensic audit of the records.
The audit showed that McCusker stole the following amounts:

2012: $2,288.31
2013: $24,183.06
2014: $34,644.18
2015: $43.922.94
2016: $41,765.90
2017: $69,935.76

Total Theft: $216,740.15

“The defendant used her position of trust in Upper Darby to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Upper Darby taxpayers. Then, to add insult to injury, she used the stolen money to buy drugs and pay credit card bills,” said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. “Our Economic Crime Unit is dedicated to guarding against fraud and thoroughly investigating all matters of theft. I want to commend Detective Michele Deery and analyst Edward Lowitz for their exemplary work on this case and also to commend Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie who immediately notified CID to begin an independent investigation.”

The Delaware County District Attorney’s Economic Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Division investigates Financial Crimes including Corporate Embezzlement, Identity Theft, Forgery, Bank Fraud, Contractor Fraud, Internet Fraud and Insurance Fraud. For more information on the Economic Crime Unit, please visit www.delcoda.com.

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2018

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063
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610-891-4161

KATAYOUN M. COPELAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES