Upper Darby Employee Sentenced for Embezzling Township Funds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 26, 2019
CONTACT PERSON: Chelsey L. Price
Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Katayoun Copeland announced Jessica Smith McCusker, a former Upper Darby Township employee who stole more than $200,000 from township taxpayers was sentenced by the Court after an open guilty plea to five years of supervision including twenty-three months of intermediate punishment, consisting of six months of incarceration and six months of electronic home monitoring, followed by three years consecutive probation. McCusker was also ordered restitution in the amount of $216,740.15 and is ordered to begin her prison sentence at George W. Hill Correctional Facility on May 3, 2019.
Jessica Smith McCusker, 37, of the 7800 block of Park Avenue in Upper Darby, was sentenced before Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge John P. Capuzzi, Sr., after entering an open guilty plea on January 24, 2019, to one consolidated count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, a felony of the second degree. At the time of sentencing, after hearing argument from Commonwealth and the defense, the Court sentenced the defendant to intermediate punishment. The arrest came at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by Detective Michele Deery of the District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID) 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 and 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, CID Detective Deery and Sergeant William Wright interviewed McCusker who 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 $216,740.15.
“Jessica McCusker now faces the consequences of her actions for selfishly stealing hard-earned taxpayer dollars and using the money to pay her credit card bills and buy drugs. Our Economic Crime Unit is dedicated to guarding against fraud and thoroughly investigating all matters pertaining to theft, fraud, and embezzlement,” said District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland. “I would like to commend Detective Michelle Deery and analyst Edward Lowitz, of our Criminal Investigation Division Economic Crime Unit, as well as Assistant District Attorney Michael Flowers, for their exemplary work on this case. I would also commend Upper Darby Township Mayor Tom Micozzie who promptly notified our office to begin an investigation,” said District Attorney Copeland.
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.