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Chester County Press

Moore still owes Kennett Township nearly $1.9 million

10/12/2021 02:23PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

On Oct. 4, former Kennett Township manager Lisa Moore was sentenced to a three-to-10-year prison sentence and five years of probation by Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge David Bortner, stemming from her embezzlement of more than $3.2 million from Kennett Township beginning in 2013 and ending in 2019.

In all, Moore was charged on five counts including theft by deception, dealing in unlawful proceeds, forgery, tampering with public records and access device fraud.

In addition to her sentencing, Moore is also required to pay full restitution costs back to the township in the amount of $3,249,453 – the sum she stole during that nearly eight-year period. At her hearing, Moore’s attorney’ Julia Alexa Rogers informed Bortner that a certified cashier’s check in the amount of $1.27 million was given to the township earlier that day.

When it comes to full restitution, however, Moore still owes Kennett Township a sizable chunk of money – nearly $1.9 million, to be more exact.

At the start of the Oct. 6 Board of Supervisors meeting, township manager Eden Ratliff broke down what has been paid and what still remains to be paid out of the $3.4 million Moore admitted she stole from the township. In addition to the $1.27 million repayment, $82,000 currently being held in escrow was also released, amounting to $1.352 million in total recovered costs.

While Moore has been convicted ( she received a 30-day waiting period from the day of the hearing to appeal her sentence or change her guilty plea), the matter reclaiming the money that was lost during her nearly eight-year embezzlement of township funds remains on the front burner of the township’s initiatives. Since the investigation by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office into Moore’s wrongdoing began in May 2019 -- which led to her arrest in December 2019 – the township has been committed to recover the entirety of the money stolen by its former manager. In 2020, the township hired a professional recovery team from Philadelphia law firm Blank Rome to track down and recover additional funds from other sources.

Along with her prison sentence, Moore must also pay various fees related to the legal and forensic aspects of her prosecution; will not be allowed to hold a position of fiduciary responsibility for with any government or non-profit organization; will be required to inform any future employer about her conviction; and will be required to comply with the laws established by the state’s parole board.

Given that Moore will not be able to earn income for the next several years in order to pay the township back the money she stole, there is speculation that she will make repayments from another source, but is it a legal one?

Geoffrey Gamble, who is campaigning against current supervisor Whitney Hoffman to serve on the board for the next six years, asked if the $1.27 million check the township received on Oct. 4 came from a legitimate source.

“The District Attorney’s Office, in the process of negotiating a plea which included the restitution payment that was made on Monday did verify the source of funds, and that it was legitimate and that it was not from some illegal means,” Ratliff said. “The township is not aware of the source of funds, and the District Attorney’s Office was not permitted to disclose that to the township.”

Ratliff said that the $1.27 million check has been deposited into the township’s bank account, and has cleared.

The township also intends to pursue money from a new source. Proceeds from the sale of Moore’s home on 540 Macfarlan Road in the township will be added to that total when it is sold. The three-bedroom, 1,887-square-foot, one-acre home is currently being listed for $499,000.

Board chairman Richard Leff told those attending the hybrid, in-person/ZOOM meeting that the township will schedule a special meeting in mid-November to provide more details about the investigation, Moore’s sentencing and how the township intends to further recover the stolen funds.

What Lisa Moore still owes Kennett Township

Total amount of embezzlement:          $3,249,453

Moore payment on Oct. 4:                   $1,270,000

Escrow released to township:                   $ 82,000

Total amount still owed:                   $1,897,453

2022 township budget talks begin

In other township business, Director of Finance and Human Resources Amy Heinrich introduced the first of seven discussions related to the formation and finalization of the township’s 2022 budget.

The Oct. 6 meeting focused primarily on the township’s general fund revenue and expenses, including projected administrative, finance department and human resource costs; benefits for non-uniform employees of the township; and projected costs for insurance, planning and zoning.

The township’s next budget meeting is scheduled for Oct. 20, and subsequent meetings will be held on Nov. 3, Nov. 18, and Dec. 1, Dec. 15 and Dec. 27, when next year’s budget is expected to be approved.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email .