The former Uniontown, Pennsylvania, treasurer stole more than $106,000 from tax accounts and spent it traveling and gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Pursue the money
The Pennsylvania treasurer was accused of stealing more than $100,000 in public funding that then went to cover vacations and gambling expenses.
“The defendant is a public servant charged with overseeing city funds with integrity and accountability,” Attorney General and Governor-elect Josh Shapiro said in a news release. “My office will investigate and prosecute anyone who abuses their position of power for financial gain.”
He stole $106,000 from 2020-21 while serving in office
The accuser is Antoinette Hodge of Uniontown, who is believed to have stolen $106,000 from 2020-2021 while serving in office. The money was illegally diverted from school revenue and city taxes, among other sources.
Pennsylvania treasurer spent gambling tax money
The city council launched an investigation in 2021 after more than a dozen taxpayers were reported late even though they had already submitted their payments. This was traced back to Hodge and helped press the latter’s charges.
Hodge devised a system that allowed her to commit crimes by restructuring the flow of responsibility, giving her complete control over a variety of important tasks.
“The staff at the city treasurer’s office testified that various changes were made under Hodge’s leadership, including Hodge filling out deposit slips, taking on the position of sole person reviewing tax account information, and removing checks and other balances within the treasurer’s office,” he said. Press release.
The investigation also found that the former treasurer spent the money on expensive trips to Jamaica, Costa Rica and Disney World. She had also planned a trip to Paris.
$500-$600 a day on lottery tickets and $500-$1,000 on a slot machine
When she wasn’t traveling, the money was spent funding her gambling habits and living a sophisticated lifestyle. The Uniontown store manager said Hodge spent $500-$600 a day on lottery tickets and $500-$1,000 on a slot machine.
It was also determined that Hodge was a regular at the casinos, having spent more than $67,000 in 2022 and $14,000 in 2021.
what is happening now
Officials attempted to intervene once it became clear that Hodge was not performing her duties as intended, however, she responded that she was “in charge”.
“Sometimes it’s weeks before Hodge actually makes a bank deposit,” a process that happens daily before Hodge restructures the system, his affidavit read.
Cancellation of any kind of control from the Deputy Treasurer
The accused also checked the bank statements for the tax accounts each month herself, eliminating any kind of oversight from the deputy treasurer.
Hodge was charged with theft by unlawful appropriation of, and receipt of, stolen property, theft by failure to make a required disposition of monies received, misapplication of entrusted property, obstruction of the administration of law or other government function, and perjury. She is awaiting trial and judgment.
Hodge was elected Uniontown Treasurer in 2019. Her illegal exploits are a grave reminder of the potential harms of gambling addiction and abuse of power in general.