CASE UPDATE: Former Bald Eagle Township Official Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Theft

July 1, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the former Bald Eagle Township Secretary and Treasurer pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the township’s general fund. Michelle Walizer, 44, of Lock Haven, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of Theft by Deception. She was sentenced to 7 years of probation and ordered to pay $76,297.44 in restitution and a $2,500 fine.

Walizer was arrested and charged in October 2018 after a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury found that she fraudulently wrote more than $76,000 worth of checks from the township’s general fund to herself. She then entered fraudulent information into the township’s accounting software indicating that the checks were paid to contractors for services that were never rendered and created fake invoices for the charges.

“The defendant was a public official trusted to manage the township’s funds, but instead she abused her position of authority for her own personal gain,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Now, she is being held accountable for her crimes and will pay back the money she stole from the taxpayers. My Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting public corruption wherever we find it—without fear or favor.”

The defendant was one of two officials charged as a result of the Grand Jury’s presentment. James Bechdel, the former Chairman of the Bald Eagle Township Supervisors, pleaded guilty to one felony count of Conflict of Interest in February 2019. He was sentenced to seven years of probation and ordered to pay over $100,000 in damages.

The defendant entered the plea in Clinton County Court of Common Pleas. Deputy Attorneys General Philip M. McCarthy and Meredith Bush prosecuted the case.

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