Former York Township Fiscal Officer Dawn Lee Pleads Guilty To Stealing More Than $100,000 From Taxpayers
The former fiscal officer for both York Township and the York Water Authority pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft in office and other charges.
Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra ordered the restitution of more than $100,000 to the entities and set her sentencing hearing for April 15.
Dawn Lee, 48, of 110 Chestnut St., Powhatan Point, pleaded guilty to five felony charges. They were two counts of theft in office, one count of tampering with records, all of which were third-degree felonies, and two counts of failing to remit withholding taxes, which are fifth-degree felonies. The investigation had been ongoing for more than two years and Lee did not seek re-election for when her term ran out in 2018.
Lee was taken into custody to await sentencing.
She had served as fiscal officer for York Township and the York Water Authority. She originally faced 27 felony charges and a maximum of 52 years in prison. Among the charges were 15 counts of theft in office; one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; two counts of theft; seven counts of failure to remit income taxes or withholding taxes for the employees, township and water authority to the state; one count of tampering with records; and one count of failing to file her own personal income taxes.
The charges arose from accusations of misuse of township credit cards, overpayment of wages, miscellaneous reimbursements, failing to file income tax returns, and failure by Lee to remit income taxes she collected from the township and water authority employees.
An audit of York Township public funds and subsequent investigation into the potential misuse of those funds originated under Attorney General David Yost when he was auditor of state.
The plea agreement includes a requirement that Lee pay restitution of $105,530.34 to York Township and $18,531.87 to York Water Authority. This restitution must be paid prior to Lee’s sentencing.
Anderson added that Lee could be sentenced to up to 11 years, and that a failure to make restitution could mean additional charges.
“If she doesn’t, I can come back with all 27 charges again,” she said.
York Township Trustee and York Township Water Authority Board Member Curt Wisavari said township officials are happy to see the issue resolved.