Bethlehem Press

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Couple charged with theft from Ott Consulting

Thursday, August 4, 2016 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Police Log

District Attorney Jim Martin announced July 27, charges are to be filed against an Allentown couple who allegedly stole over a million dollars from the wife’s employer.

Pamela J. Kern, 43, and Gary W. Kern, 49, of 2522 South Sixth St., Allentown, allegedly conspired to deal in the proceeds of unlawful activities by using electronic ACH Internet transfers to make payments in the amount of $1,436,037 on their credit card accounts between 2006 and February.

Each are being charged with four counts of Dealing in the Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, and one count of the following: Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition, Theft by Deception, Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Funds Received, Receiving Stolen Property and Criminal Conspiracy. All are felonies of the first degree.

The case was investigated by Lehigh County Detective Gerald Procanyn and Lehigh County’s Eighth Investigating Grand Jury.

The Emmaus Police Department also was involved with the investigation.

The Grand Jury heard testimony from witnesses presented by Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher III and reviewed exhibits before handing up its presentment June 17.

The presentment was reviewed by Lehigh County Judge Maria L. Dantos, the supervising judge of the Grand Jury.

Martin approved the charges based on the evidence and the presentment.

Pamela J. Kern was employed as a bookkeeper at Ott Consulting, Inc., an Emmaus civil engineering and landscape architectural firm, since 2004 until her suspension Feb. 23. During that time, she was the firm’s only bookkeeper and had exclusive control over processing invoice and expense payments.

Jeffrey T. Ott, president of the firm, learned of the possible embezzlement Feb. 19, when it was discovered payments from Ott Consulting were being made to five different credit card accounts in five different banks.

Ott Consulting, Inc. used only one credit card account in conducting its operations. All payments for those accounts were processed from the Ott business account at Provident Bank by Pamela J. Kern.

Pamela J. Kern allegedly conducted the misappropriation of the firm’s revenue by manipulating the recording of payments and by adjusting the monthly Excel spreadsheet reports, which she submitted to Ott and Vice President Reynold Petre.

Investigation showed Pamela J. Kern and Gary W. Kern regularly used credit cards from the following institutions: Bank of American, N.A.; Chase Bank USA, N.A.; Citibank, N.A. and Discover Financial Services.

Examination of records of the cards allegedly showed payments made for cars, boats, paintings, sculpture collectibles, books, and multiple vacations. The amount of the expenditures far surpassed the Kerns’ joint yearly income, as verified by their IRS returns from 2009 through 2015.

Over 464 direct Internet payments from the Ott Consulting firm account were allegedly made to the credit cards used by Pamela and Gary Kern. All of the Ott payments match the payments received on the monthly statements of the Kerns’ credit cards.

To further corroborate the use of Ott Consulting Firm’s business account, a review of six Wells Fargo Bank accounts used by both Pamela J. Kern and Gary W. Kern was conducted for the years 2009 through April. The review allegedly showed no payments on their credit cards were ever made from the Wells Fargo accounts.

Martin thanked the Grand Jury for their service in this case and their service as jurors and the sacrifices they make on behalf of the Commonwealth and their fellow citizens.

As in every criminal case, the fact an arrest has occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation; and the defendants, Pamela J. Kern and Gary W. Kern, are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.