Former Employee Of Bon-Ton Stores Foundation Pleads Guilty To $1.2 Million Wire Fraud And Tax Evasion
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that on October 15, Christine S. DeJuliis, age 51, of Felton, PA, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab to wire fraud and tax evasion charges. Magistrate Judge Schwab has recommended that the guilty plea be accepted by U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, DeJuliis was hired by the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., in 1999, and worked in an administrative capacity for the Bon-Ton Stores Foundation, a charitable organization established by the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. While working in that capacity, DeJuliis created fictitious businesses, opened bank accounts in those entities’ names, and then devised a scheme to forge Foundation checks written to those entities. For at least one of those entities, DeJuliis used an internet-based legal document service to obtain an Employer Identification Number. The Foundation money was put into the fictitious accounts controlled by DeJuliis and then moved into her personal accounts. Between January 2003 and July 2009, DeJuliis defrauded the Foundation of more than $1.2 million. During tax years 2007 and 2008, DeJuliis also failed to pay income tax on the money she stole from the Foundation, resulting in a tax loss of more than $170,000. DeJuliis was fired from the Foundation as soon as her conduct was discovered by the company in July 2009.
The guilty plea was entered pursuant to a plea agreement reached by the parties following DeJuliis’s indictment on mail fraud and money laundering charges in January 2013.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation based on information received from the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James T. Clancy, Chief of the Victim Rights and Asset Recovery Unit.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 20 years’ imprisonment on the wire fraud charge, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The tax evasion charge subjects DeJuliis to a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years and a fine of the greater of $100,000 or twice the tax loss. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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