Former Employee Accused of Embezzling Over $8,600 from Magisterial District Court

| March 5, 2019

CORNPLANTER TWP., Pa. (EYT) – An Oil City woman was arraigned on theft charges this morning in relation to allegations that she stole funds from a local Magisterial District Court where she was employed.

Court documents indicate 50-year-old Holly L. Watson, of Oil City, was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, on the following charges:

  • Theft By Deception-False Impression, Felony 3
  • Receiving Stolen Property, Felony 3
  • Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Funds, Felony 3
  • Tamper Records Or Id-Writing, Misdemeanor 1

The charges stem from a report of theft from the period of August 1, 2018, to February 8, 2019, from the office of Magisterial District Court 28-3-01, located in Cornplanter Township, Venango County.

According to a criminal complaint, Trooper Walters, of the Franklin-based State Police, was assigned to investigate the incident. He met with District Judge Andrew Fish, Judge Fish’s office manager, the Co-Finance Director for Venango County, and the Court Administrator at the Venango County Courthouse on Thursday, February 14.

According to the complaint, Judge Fish’s office manager informed Trooper Walters that while reconciling banking records recently, she found anomalies which prompted her to ask Holly Watson several questions. Watson has worked for Venango County in different capacities, most recently as a secretary at Judge Fish’s office where she was entrusted with tasks including the collection/recording of fines, costs, other funds, and with ensuring that the money was deposited into the account at an Oil City bank.

It was determined that several deposit slips that were filled out by Watson never made it to the bank, and subsequently, several deposit slips were located at Watson’s residence, the complaint states.

The Venango County Co-Finance Director provided Trooper Walters with account records detailing deposits made, deposits delayed, altered deposits, and deposits that were never made. The Co-Finance Director informed him that she conducted an internal audit which showed that a total of $8,606.59 in funds received by Watson for deposit were never deposited as required.

According to the complaint, the Co-Finance Director also found alterations including deposits where the cash portion of the deposit was removed, then Watson used her personal checks to cover the deposit on a later date.

Additional records obtained include Watson’s work schedule, deposit listing for Magisterial District Court 28-3-01, and a summary of the missing funds totaling $8606.59, the complaint indicates.

Based on the investigation, charges were filed on Tuesday, March 5, in Judge Kirtland’s office.

Watson is free on $15,000.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, with Judge Kirtland presiding.

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