New Castle News

Schools

July 9, 2014

Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

NEW CASTLE — A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

The case of Cecelia H. Yauger was scheduled for call to trial Tuesday, but according to Mercer County District Attorney Robert Kochems, it has been continued to Sept. 2.

“We’re waiting to see what they’re going to do with the federal charges,” he said Tuesday.

Yauger, 56, of Grove City, is accused of having used an agency-issued American Express credit card to make numerous personal or non-business-related purchases topping $71,000.

She faces a federal charge filed Monday for alleged theft from a program that receives federal funds. The charge was filed in U.S. District Court this week.

In Mercer County, she faces felony theft and access device fraud charges filed by Grove City police Sept. 16.

Typically, local charges are withdrawn when the federal government takes over the prosecution, Kochems explained Tuesday, but in Yauger’s case, nothing has been decided about that yet.

She is to appear for a waiver and plea hearing set for 2 p.m. July 30 in federal court.

The federal investigation was launched last year after IU IV officials and their attorney discovered credit card bills that allegedly showed many of Yauger’s personal purchases on her business credit card.

A forensic audit of the credit card bills spanning 2007 through February of 2013 while Yauger was the IU IV executive director, showed that at least $71,466 of her expenses apparently were not business related. Those included multiple charges to restaurants, pharmacies, department stores, other retail outlets and mail-order, according to the audit.

The audit was ordered by IU IV’s 13-member board of directors and the report was sent to the Grove City police, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Certification Bureau.

Yauger resigned from her position April 24 last year and signed an agreement saying she would pay restitution to IU IV in an amount the board determines she owes for all claims arising out of her access to and improper or unauthorized use of its resources, property or funds.

Dr. Wayde Killmeyer, director of IU IV, said Tuesday the intermediate unit has been reimbursed for about $72,000 by its own insurance company under an employee fraud provision in its policy.

He said he does not know whether Yauger has paid anything back to the insurance company.

As a result of the Yauger case, the IU IV board has changed its policies on credit card use.

Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV is an educational agency that serves 27 school districts in Lawrence, Mercer and Butler counties.

According to the federal court filing, IU IV directly or indirectly received more than $10,000 in federal funds for each of the calendar years of 2007 through 2012, the years in which the credit card bills were in question.

Attempts Monday and Tuesday to reach Yauger’s Pittsburgh attorney, Gene Tempesta, were unsuccessful.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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