Delco bookkeeper charged with $850,000 embezzlement

Ruth Phillips , 54, turned herself in Thursday.
Ruth Phillips , 54, turned herself in Thursday.
Posted: August 17, 2013

A bookkeeper for a Delaware County contracting company stole $853,000 from her employers to pay bills and fund a lavish lifestyle, authorities said.

Ruth Phillips, 54, charged with theft, forgery and other offenses, turned herself in to Delaware County authorities Thursday morning.

Phillips, of Aston, was a family friend of brothers John and Vince D'Annunzio, owners of Pop Tuna Builders, an Aston company specializing in new homes. The brothers hired her in 2005 to do the bookkeeping, according to an affidavit filed by Delaware County authorities.

In recent months, the brothers became concerned about the amount of money in the company checking account, the affidavit said, and when they reviewed the account they noticed two suspicious $5,000 checks: one made out to Phillips, and the other to the Chase credit card company.

The D'Annunzios are the only two people authorized to sign company checks, the affidavit said, and they saw that the signatures on those two documents were fake. The account balance also did not match the figure Phillips had reported to them.

"The D'Annunzios became very suspicious and felt Phillips was trying to hide their company money from them," the affidavit stated.

A subsequent review of their bank records turned up thousands more in checks Phillips had apparently written to herself, as well as to companies like Verizon and Peco. Starting in 2007, the affidavit alleges, Phillips took between $116,000 and $158,000 from the company each year.

When the brothers confronted Phillips in March, she began to cry and said she would try to repay them by giving them what she had in her savings account, as well as her home.

"Phillips went on to say she was sorry," the affidavit states, "and in the beginning she only took a little money but when it was never discovered she continued because she enjoyed the lavish lifestyle."

Phillips eventually gave the D'Annunzios more than $45,000 from her savings account, and signed her home on Hill Avenue over to them. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for this month in Delaware County Court.


Contact Allison Steele at 610-313-8113 or asteele@phillynews.com

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|