Former Schuylkill County Employee Charged with Embezzling $452,186
HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a former Schuylkill County employee, Virginia G. Kunigonis, age 54, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has been charged with embezzling $452,186 from the Schuylkill County Conservation District between 2007 and 2014.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, an Information filed with United States District Court today in Harrisburg, Kunigonis was charged with one count of Theft From Programs Receiving Federal Funds. The Information alleges Kunigonis forged 437 Conservation District checks totaling $410,435 between October of 2007 and May of 2014. The Information also alleges Kunigonis used a Conservation District credit card to pay an additional $41,751 in personal expenses during that same time period. The Information alleges the Schuylkill County Conservation District received in excess of $10,000 in federal grant monies each year between 2007 and 2014.
The Information was filed pursuant to a plea agreement that was also filed with the Court. In the plea agreement Kunigonis agreed to plead guilty to the one count Information, to cooperate with the government, to make restitution as ordered by the court, and to forfeit the sum of $452,186, all of her interests in her Pottsville, PA residence, and all of her interests in her Schuylkill County retirement account, net of taxes, to the government.
According to the Information, Virginia Kunigonis began working as an administrative assistant for the Schuylkill County Conservation District in approximately 2002. Prior to that she worked in various capacities for Schuylkill County since 1986. No date has yet been scheduled for the entry of Kunigonis’ guilty plea.
The case was investigated by the Scranton Office of the FBI in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty for Health Care Fraud is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum term of imprisonment for False Statements in Health Care Matters is five years’ imprisonment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.