November 29, 2020

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Son-in-law accused of stealing $484K from Lower Salford family business | News

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NORRISTOWN — A man is accused of stealing more than $484,000 from the Lower Salford...

NORRISTOWN — A man is accused of stealing more than $484,000 from the Lower Salford business owned by his in-laws while he worked as the company’s chief operations officer, presumably so he could start up his own photography business, according to court documents.

Christopher David Oleksa, 36, of the unit block of Onyx Road, New Oxford, Adams County, was arraigned before District Court Judge Maureen Coggins on charges of identity theft, access device fraud, receiving stolen property, forgery, theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking in connection with alleged incidents that occurred between October 2019 and April 2020.

Coggins set bail at $50,000 unsecured and Oleksa was released to await further court action. Oleksa waived his preliminary hearing and his case will proceed directly to county court where it will be listed for trial.

The investigation began in April when Lower Salford police met with John and Holly Firely, owners of Firely Pediatric and Home Care Services, who reported “fraudulent activity on numerous financial accounts” of the business, located in the 300 block of Maple Avenue in the Harleysville section of the township.

“The majority of the fraud was reportedly associated with fraudulent credit card transactions,” Lower Salford Detective Sgt. Cory B. Moyer alleged in the criminal complaint, adding the Firelys indicated they did not know exactly how long the unauthorized transactions took place but that they suspected Oleksa, their son-in-law, was responsible.

Oleksa had held the position of chief operations officer for the company since 2014 and was responsible for maintaining the financial accounts associated with the business, according to court papers.

When detectives confronted Oleksa about the credit card discrepancies on April 16 he admitted that he used the company credit cards for personal expenses and said he wanted to “cooperate completely,” according to the arrest affidavit.

“Chris Oleksa told me he was trying to get a photography business started and he was charging items to the credit cards belonging to Firely Pediatric and Home Care Services for his new business and personal items,” Moyer alleged.

Oleksa then altered the credit card statements to disguise the fraudulent, non-business-related transactions, detectives alleged.

The fraudulent use of the company credit cards included 3,908 transactions, dating from 2014 until the owners discovered the fraud in early 2020.

During the investigation, detectives also determined Oleksa had forged 21 business checks and deposited the funds into his personal bank accounts and made 16 unauthorized wire transfers from the business to his own accounts, according to court papers.

The combined theft and misappropriation of funds from 2014 to 2020 totaled $484,286.67, detectives alleged.

Detectives asked Oleksa why he decided to steal from the company.

“Chris Oleksa told me he wanted to separate himself from the family-owned business. He said he was having difficulty working for his in-laws and he wanted to open a photography business,” Moyer alleged.

The company owners attempted to resolve the case without having criminal charges filed, however they said Oleksa “has not been cooperative with them,” Moyer wrote in the criminal complaint.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Daniels who is captain of the district attorney’s economic crimes unit.

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