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Berks County township treasurer accused of embezzling more than $81,000

BERKS COUNTY — The former secretary and treasurer for Upper Bern Township is accused of embezzling more than $81,000 in township funds over the course of her seven-year tenure at the position, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Tonya Jeanelle Schaner, 34, of Hamburg, was arraigned before Judge Andrea Book Thursday on charges of theft by unlawful taking, police say. Bail was set at $30,000.

According to police, Schaner was charged after an investigation that began in March after township officials alerted police to their suspicions that Schaner had taken a significant amount of money from the township’s funds.

Schaner was employed by the township as secretary/treasurer from Jan. 23, 2011 to Feb. 8, 2018, police say. During that time, it was her responsibility to maintain Upper Bern Township’s financial records and to provide financial reports to township officials. Schaner had access to the township’s bank and credit card accounts.

After discovering a significant loss in funds, police say, township officials commissioned an auditing company to conduct a forensic review of the township’s documents, reports provided by its accounting system, and its external accounts with BB&T, National Penn, Elan Financial Services and Lowe’s.

The forensic review revealed that due to a multitude of unapproved transactions and falsified credit memos allegedly conducted by Schaner, a loss of $81,115.70 was discovered.

Upper Bern Township supervisors issued the following statement:

“The Upper Bern Township Supervisors were shocked by this betrayal of our trust. The township is cooperating fully with law enforcement to bring swift and fair justice, and will use every legal means at our disposal to recover taxpayers’ money, so that the township’s operations and services continue as normal.”