Former Bellefonte business owner allegedly stole from church
The former owner of Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe embezzled more than $167,000 from St. John Lutheran Church, according to Bellefonte police.
Pastor William Osman and a member of the church’s congregation met Jan. 2 to discuss money that was missing from the church’s bank account. The two found inconsistencies and believed the church would be out of money in two years if the trend continued, according to court documents.
The investigation led police to the church’s treasurer, Chuck Kormanski, who held that role since 1998.
Police said the 56-year-old from Bellefonte wrote himself 379 checks over the past seven years, totaling $167,420.12. The first check was signed Dec. 25, 2011.
“With all the evidence collected to date, it appears (Kormanski) did write himself checks with the intention to deceive and steal from the St. John Lutheran Church over the past seven years for his own personal gain,” police wrote.
In a Facebook post, St. John Lutheran Church said it continues to cooperate with law enforcement and relieved Kormanski of his duties.
“We involved the Bellefonte Police Department as soon as we learned of this situation and we continue to be transparent with the congregation concerning what is happening,” the post said. “Meanwhile, we are continuing with our regularly schedule(d) worship services, as well as praying for everyone involved and affected by this situation.”
Kormanski was charged with 379 felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, 379 felony counts of theft by deception and 379 felony counts of receiving stolen property.
He was arraigned Monday by District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who set monetary bail at $75,000. Kormanski did not post bail and is being detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility.
Kormanski opened his business in April and closed in December.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.