2010-03-25 / Front Page

Business Accountant Waives Hearing

Joseph Runk charged with stealing money from Needmore company
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Following a series of continuances, a Spring Run, Franklin County, man appeared in court this week for a preliminary hearing scheduled on allegations he pocketed money to be sent to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of a local company for payment of taxes.

Represented by defense attorney David Keller, 54-year-old Joseph Anthony Runk of 16715 Path Valley Road waived his right to a preliminary hearing on March 22. Runk is currently charged with 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 institution; two counts of forgery; and three counts of theft by deception.

The criminal complaint against Runk was initially filed through Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson on October 30, 2009. In the charging documents, Trooper Angela Roher, a criminal investigator with the McConnellsburg state police substation, maintains Runk routinely overcharged a Belfast Township-based company for taxes during a four-year period that began in 2000 and ended in 2004.

The amount of overcharging during that specific time frame, Roher said, has been estimated at $207,637.18. The money was in turn used for Runk’s own “personal use.”

A company employee reportedly told state police investigators he became suspicious when Runk provided him with an ballpark figure for a new employee’s withholding taxes. The amount actually exceeded the new employee’s wages.

Since that time, certified public accountants from Boyer & Ritter have assessed the company’s past tax and payroll records.

In addition, the affidavit prepared by Roher alleges Runk also attempted to secure power of attorney over the business’ tax and payroll information in August 2008. He did so by forging the name of the company president on documents that were sent to the IRS, which responded that the signature and declaration of the representative was “illegible and incomplete.”

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