Bucks County Woman Sentenced for Embezzling from Levittown Business
PHILADELPHIA—Joan Baranek, 57, of Yardley, PA, was sentenced today to two years in prison for embezzling $830,504 from her employer, between 2006 and 2012, and not reporting that income on her tax return. Baranek was a vice president for sales at Airgas Safety, Inc., a subsidiary of Airgas, Inc., based in Levittown, Pennsylvania. She pleaded guilty on October 8, 2014 to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return.
Baranek was responsible for designing and managing a sales incentive program for telesales centers (call centers). She purchased gift cards and other award prizes with her personal American Express card, and then submitted expense reports to Airgas for reimbursement. In support of her expense reports, she attached invoices for the gift cards and award prizes to the expense reports. Between May 2006 and December 2012, Baranek altered invoices or even created fictitious invoices, which she attached to her expense reports so as to obtain reimbursement for alleged promotional expenses that she never incurred. Baranek submitted approximately 200 expense reports claiming a total of $1.8 million in promotional expenses; of these, approximately 121 of the reports contained altered, fictitious, or duplicate invoices in support of the expensed promotional items, for a total of approximately $830,504 of fraudulent expenses. Baranek filed a United States income tax return for calendar year 2008, that reported her taxable income as $155,419, when her actual taxable income approximately $360,944.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter ordered restitution to Airgas, Inc. in the amount of $567,504, restitution to the IRS of $304,003 in principle and interest, three years of supervised release which includes 50 hours of community service, and a $200 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Grigsby.