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Press Release

Pottstown Woman Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Christina Svanda, 46 of Pottstown pleaded guilty to charges stemming from her schemes to defraud her employer. Svanda was employed as the financial manager for a family owned furniture business with store locations in Pottstown and Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. She pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of filing a false individual income tax return. United States District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois scheduled a sentence hearing for June 20, 2017. Svanda faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of 43 years in prison, a fine up to $750,000, a $300 special assessment, three years of supervised release, and full restitution of as much as $1,050,029.

In August 2009, Svanda began writing checks from the furniture business’ bank account at Downingtown National Bank to cover her personal credit card bills. Between August 2009 and May 2015, Svanda stole approximately $858,669 from the furniture business’s bank account to pay her personal credit card bills.

Svanda also defrauded the furniture business by wrongfully increasing her pay by a total of $191,359 between 2009 and 2015. The furniture company used a third-party payroll service. Svanda called in the payroll to the third-party service on a weekly basis. Each week, there were changes to payroll, including bonuses paid to sales staff who met sales goals, as well as additional pay earned by the warehouse staff when they worked on the sales floor. Svanda was not entitled to bonus pay or personal pay for warehouse staff. However, records from the payroll service show that Svanda wrongfully instructed the payroll service to increase her pay by a total of $191,359 between 2009 and 2015.

Finally, Svanda filed income tax returns that failed to report the $858,669 that she stole from the furniture company’s bank account to pay her own credit card bills. Thus, her personal federal income tax return for the year of 2013 failed to include $258,882 that she embezzled that year, resulting in tax due and owing of $81,497.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen Grigsby.

Updated March 21, 2017