Small Town Tax Thief Must Repay $19K

A former tax collector in a small area borough has been sentenced to three years of probation for stealing $19,000 in public money.

The Reading Eagle reports a Berks County judge also has ordered Jodie Mae Keller to repay the money to Mohnton, Pa. She pleaded guilty to the thefts, which happened between July and Jan. 15.

"I directed funds collected from taxpayers to myself instead of submitting back to the taxpayers," Keller said in her guilty plea court document, which was obtained by the paper.

Investigators say Keller, 33, admitted taking cash from the account to pay credit card bills, groceries and a car loan.

Assistant District Attorney Colleen Dugan says Keller has accepted responsibility from the beginning, but that the borough wants the money back as soon as possible. Borough solicitor John Hoffert says officials weren't seeking jail time, but need the funds to provide public services.

Keller has been replaced as tax collector by a borough secretary.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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