News and Press Releases

Erie Accountant Stole Thousands from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Hilltop Beer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2014

ERIE, Pa - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Julie A. Wozniak, 33, pleaded guilty to five counts before United States District Judge David S. Cerone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from March 2013 to June 2013, Julie A. Wozniak devised a scheme to defraud St. Vincent’s hospital and Hilltop Beer by abusing her position as an accountant. Wozniak utilized a Saint Vincent’s purchasing card and made 62 separate unauthorized purchases for her own personal benefit and use, in the total amount of approximately $47,521.03, and increased the credit limit on the purchasing card from $12,000.00 to $30,000.00 in order to increase the volume of unauthorized purchases she was able to make. Wozniak also fabricated St. Vincent’s accounting records for the purchasing card, thereby concealing the unauthorized purchases she had made. Further, Wozniak utilized her access to St. Vincent’s bank accounts and made 22 unauthorized Automated Clearing House (ACH) debits from Saint Vincent’s operating bank account at M&T bank, in an additional amount of approximately $32,940.65.

In addition to the fraud against St. Vincent’s, the court was advised that Wozniak operated a private accounting business called “Keeping You Balanced” and used her position as an accountant to steal money from Hilltop Beer. Wozniak advised the owner of Hilltop Beer how much money she needed to have transferred into the Hilltop Beer payroll bank account in order for her to make payroll tax payments. After transfers of those amounts would be made to the payroll account, the defendant, without the knowledge or consent of the owner of Hilltop Beer, would write checks to herself from the payroll account in the amount that was supposed to be paid to the IRS for the payroll taxes of Hilltop Beer. In order to conceal the payroll account funds she had unlawfully taken from Hilltop Beer and had not paid to the IRS, Wozniak made ACH debits from St. Vincent’s operating bank account with S&T bank, and paid the payroll taxes for Hilltop Beer out of the St. Vincent’s account.

Finally, Wozniak used her access and authority over St. Vincent’s bank account at First Niagara and made 9 ACH debits to pay on her personal Capital One credit card accounts and her personal Amazon credit account in an additional amount of $10,778.69.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for August 11, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 100 years in prison, a fine of $1,250,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Wozniak on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Wozniak.

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