Christopher Hontz says he didn’t mean to steal so much money from his boss.
The 35-year-old Lock Haven man was sentenced Friday to nine to 231/2 months in Centre County Correctional Facility. He pleaded guilty in May to theft by unlawful taking, access device fraud and identity theft.
Music Mart Inc. owner Thomas Gallagher first discovered the thefts in August 2012. He realized that his M&T Bank business line of credit had been accessed, making unauthorized payments to two PayPal accounts. Hontz, then the store manager, had established one of the accounts for store use. Gallagher did not know about the second account that had been created. More than $73,000 was transferred between the accounts.
According to court documents, Hontz, who handled payroll for the store, was also paying himself for overtime he hadn’t worked, for vacations that hadn’t been authorized and for raises he hadn’t been given. And then there were “jobs.” Jobs referred to outside work, such as installations, generally performed only by Gallagher.
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In 2011, according to court documents, all of those extras added up to $47,210.89, about $17,000 more than the owner made. In the first half of 2012, his pay topped Gallagher’s by almost $8,000.
When interviewed by State College police, Hontz admitted to the thefts and said he didn’t realize how much had added up. He said that he needed the money to pay his premature son’s medical bills.
At court on Friday, restitution in the case was listed at more than $111,000.
Hontz left for prison immediately from court.