Lehigh Valley

Allentown couple sentenced for stealing $1.4M from employer

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An Allentown couple charged with stealing more than $1.4 million from the wife's employer were formally sentenced Monday.

Pamela Kern, 43, was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison for using the internet to make payments that totaled $1,436,037 on her and her husband's credit card accounts between 2006 and February 2016.

Gary Kern, 49, was sentenced to one year of house arrest followed by nine years of probation for his role in the scheme.

The couple pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with prosecutors last month.

Pamela Kern admitted to embezzling the money from her Emmaus employer, and police said Gary Kern was in on the scheme.

Pamela Kern worked as a bookkeeper at Ott Consulting, Inc., an Emmaus civil engineering and landscape architectural firm, since 2004 until her suspension on February 23, 2016. During that time, she was the firm's only bookkeeper and had exclusive control over processing invoice and expense payments, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office.

Investigators said that Jeffrey T. Ott, president of the firm, learned of the possible embezzlement on February 19, 2016, when it was discovered that payments from Ott Consulting were being made to five different credit card accounts in five different banks. Ott Consulting, Inc. used only one credit card account in conducting its operations.

All payments for those accounts were processed from the Ott business account at Provident Bank by Pamela J. Kern, according to the D.A.'s Office.

Investigators said Kern manipulated the recording of payments by adjusting the monthly spreadsheet reports, which she submitted to Ott and the vice president.

The couple made payments for cars, boats, paintings, sculpture collectibles, books and several vacations, officials said.

Investigators said 464 internet payments from the firm were made to the credit cards Kern and Ott used and those payments matched the monthly statements on the cards.

Both were charged with four counts of dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of the following: theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, receiving stolen property, and criminal conspiracy. All are felonies of the first degree. 

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