2009-11-19 / Front Page

Accountant Accused Of Bilking Company

Preliminary hearing rescheduled for Joseph Runk of Spring Run
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A Franklin County-based accountant faces an array of criminal charges here in Fulton County amid accusations he stole money from a local company on the premise the funds were earmarked for employee tax withholdings.

Joseph Anthony Runk of 16715 Path Valley Road, Spring Run, was charged by Pennsylvania State Police, McConnellsburg, on October 30 through the office of Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson. The 54-year-old accountant faces one count each of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, misapplication of entrusted property of a government or financial institutions; two counts of forgery; and three counts of theft by deception.

Runk’s preliminary hearing previously scheduled for Monday, November 23, in Fulton County Central Court has been continued and will likely be conducted in late December or early January.

The criminal complaint filed by investigating officer Trooper Angela Roher indicates a total of $41,915.38 belonging to a company in Needmore was unlawfully taken by Runk, who gave business owners the impression the cash was to be forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service for payment of taxes.

A detailed description of the felony thefts provided by Trooper Roher revealed the accountant “withheld information from the victim regarding the proper amount that needed to be forwarded to the IRS for taxes. Instead he informed them of an amount higher than what the IRS required, and he then retained the difference.”

In a follow-up affidavit of probable cause filed by Roher, Runk had allegedly been routinely overcharging the business for taxes during a four-year time frame from 2000 through 2004. The possible discrepancies were first noted when company officials contacted Runk to obtain a “ballpark figure” on new employee withholding taxes.

After Runk provided two different figures, officials began digging through past tax and payroll records. According to the affidavit, certified public accountants Boyer & Ritter were then hired to assess those same records and came up with a preliminary estimate of $207,637.18. in money overpaid to Runk for employee tax withholdings.

The affidavit prepared by Roher, alleges Runk also attempted to secure power of attorney over the business’ tax and payroll information by forging the company president’s name on documents sent to the IRS. The IRS responded to the request stating the power of attorney and declaration of representative was “illegible and incomplete.”

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