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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Renee Tartaglione Sentenced to 82 Months in Federal Prison for Fraud Scheme that Looted Millions of Dollars from Nonprofit Clinic

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that the former president of a mental health clinic was sentenced today to 82 months in federal prison for perpetrating a multiyear fraud scheme through which the defendant stole over two million dollars that was supposed to be spent to help some of the most at-risk individuals in her community. 

Over a year ago, on June 23rd, 2017, a jury found Renee Tartaglione, 62, of Philadelphia, PA, guilty on 53 counts of conspiracy, fraud, theft, and tax crimes.  In addition to today’s sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Joel H. Slomsky previously ordered Tartaglione to forfeit $2.4 million in proceeds from her scheme and today ordered her to pay $2,076,024 in restitution to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which will hold that money in trust until a successor charitable organization can be identified. 

“The defendant funneled millions of dollars, meant to help economically disadvantaged people with mental health issues, into her own pockets for her own pleasure,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Nonprofit organizations – especially those that provide important services to the disadvantaged – exist for the people they serve and not for the personal enrichment of their leaders. Tartaglione can contemplate that fact while she sits in prison, where she belongs.”

According to the evidence presented at trial, between 2007 and 2015, Tartaglione, as President of the Board of Directors of the Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic (“JCMHC”), defrauded and stole money from JCMHC through a series of actions designed to benefit her personally at the expense of the clinic. For example, Tartaglione purchased the building on 3rd Street in Philadelphia that housed the clinic and then proceeded to raise the rent repeatedly, causing the clinic’s rent for the 3rd Street building to increase from $4,500 per month to $25,000 per month.

Additionally, as of 2010, Tartaglione’s company, Norris Hancock LLC, acquired an interest in a building on 5th Street in Philadelphia, and Tartaglione caused the clinic to spend money to fix up that building. In December 2012, Tartaglione leased that building to JCMHC under a lease that called for rent of $35,000 per month for the first two years, and $75,000 per month for the next three years. The rent Tartaglione charged the nonprofit clinic at both buildings was wildly in excess of the market rent.

None of the JCMHC rent increases or the lease agreements were approved by JCMHC’s Board of Directors. Tartaglione and her co-conspirators created false and fictitious documents in an attempt to make the transactions appear legitimate.

In previously ordering the forfeiture of proceeds in April 2018, Judge Slomsky ordered the forfeiture to be paid from the proceeds of the sale of Tartaglione’s properties on 3rd Street and 5th Street in Philadelphia, as well as other properties, including two homes at the New Jersey shore.  

"Honest and law abiding citizens are fed up with the likes of those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people’s money as well as skirt their tax obligations," said Guy Ficco, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “It is time for Renee Tartaglione to face the consequences of her actions, which includes going to prison and being branded a convicted felon for the rest of her life.”

“I am pleased to partner with U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain to investigate, prosecute and root out public corruption wherever we find it,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “In this case, one of our legal experts provided testimony and will assist in the restitution process. This type of collaboration is key to protecting our democracy and ensuring honest government. I commend U.S. Attorney McSwain for his fine leadership.”

This case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General, with additional assistance from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea L. Witzleben and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Peter Halpern.

Updated July 12, 2018