Former Shenandoah secretary charged with stealing over $23,000 from borough funds

May 19—SHENANDOAH — After a year-long investigation, a former borough secretary was charged with stealing more than $23,000 from the borough's trash and sewer funds.

Alyssa Lynn Boris, 30, of Shenandoah, was charged with two felony counts of theft and one of receiving stolen property.

Boris was arraigned Friday by Magisterial District Judge Anthony J. Kilker. Her bail was set at $50,000 unsecured, and she was released after her arraignment.

A preliminary hearing for Boris is set for 9:45 a.m. June 29 before Kilker.

The charges stem from an investigation by state police at Frackville, who were asked by the borough to look into a series of missing trash and sewer payments in early 2022.

Boris, of 206 W. Lloyd St., was charged Thursday by Trooper Shawn Tray.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Trooper Nicholas Reese was initially notified by borough solicitor James J. Amato of the possible theft.

On March 31, 2022, Reese interviewed Amato, along with Shenandoah borough manager Tony Sajone and borough secretary Cassondra Krise, during which Reese was informed that Boris was responsible for making deposits in the trash and sewer funds.

Reese was informed that there was no set time in which payments are made but that they normally occurred daily at First National Bank at 101 N. Main St., police said.

On Feb. 11, 2022, Krise first noticed discrepancies in the borough's reporting system, noting that the deposits were not being made on time; she notified Sajone the same day.

In March of that year, Sajone contacted the bank, which said it had not observed Boris making a deposit for several days.

On March 31, 2022, Boris' boyfriend dropped off a bank bag at borough hall on her behalf. The bag contained cash and checks totaling $10,328, which were determined to be mixed funds that should previously have been deposited.

On April 4, 2022, Boris voluntarily visited the Frackville barracks, where she was interviewed by Tray and Cpl. Brian Cipko.

During the interview, Boris said that deposits are not made every day and that she took work home on "a couple of occasions." In January 2022, she said, she misplaced a deposit bag that contained seven or eight deposits.

Boris said she was worried about her son's health and that, by the month the deposits were misplaced, she was working to "have everything paid off." She worked multiple jobs and had been trying to pay the money back, according to police.

When cash would come in, she would put certain deposits together but would place the money aside, police said.

From December 2021 until the time of the interview, Boris estimated that about 15 deposits of $1,000 each were made into her M&T Bank account.

On May 23, 2022, a search and seizure warrant was sent to M&T for Boris' bank documents from the past year.

Boris' records, delivered to police on June 6, 2022, showed instances of several ATM cash deposits, as she had previously stated.

Police sought the help of accountant Samuel Deegan, who found that a total of $23,685.32 was missing from the borough's trash and sewer funds between October 2021 and April 2022, including $15,566.57 from the sewer account and $8,118.75 from the trash account.

Amato had said previously that, in late 2021, the borough began receiving complaints from residents regarding checks "not being cashed for payments made to the borough for resident sewer and trash accounts."

Residents were getting fined late fees for trash and sewer bills after they had already made their payments at the borough building, Amato said.

Amato praised state police for their "thorough" and fair investigation of the matter.

"I believe the charges that were filed against Ms. Boris were appropriate under the circumstances," he said Friday. "I look forward to seeing what happens with the prosecution of the case.

"Overall, I think it's a very good thing for the borough. They're finally going to have some accountability and some resolution to this matter."

He also credited borough workers for noticing the "irregularities" of the payments and notifying authorities in a timely manner.

"You hear of circumstances ... where people steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from boroughs and municipalities before anyone finds out and anyone discovers the irregularities," he said. "But to their credit, Tony (Sajone) and (Krise), once they saw the irregularities, they took immediate action to make sure that it was stopped."

Contact the writer: hlee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6085