Jail time for Moore

Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge David Bortner Monday sentenced former Kennett Township Manager Lisa Moore to three to 10 years in prison for embezzling more than $3.2 million. Moore must also make restitution.

The sentence — negotiated by Deputy District Attorney William Judge Jr. and Moore's attorney, Julia Rogers — was based on an agreement that Moore would plead guilty to five of more than 100 counts. Guilty pleas were made to theft by deception, dealing in unlawful proceeds, forgery, tampering with public records, and access device fraud. The jail time was for the charge of theft by deception. The five years of probation were for the other four charges.

Lisa Moore will serve three to 10 years for embezzling more than $3.2 million from Kennett Township.

Moore, 46, was remanded into custody and will serve a minimum of three years in prison plus five years' probation. According to Judge, if she served just the minimum, she would also spend seven years on parole.

Moore faced the possibility of more than 70 years in prison on the five counts, but that was pleaded down because there was no crime of violence, that she had no priors, and needed the opportunity to make the mandatory restitution, plus pay court costs and fines. Partial restitution of $1.27 million has already been made.

There were other restrictions and requirements placed on Moore. She may never hold a position of fiduciary responsibility for any government or non-profit agency and must inform all future employers of her crimes.

At the end of an hour-long court session, Bortner's ruling brought an end to more than two years of investigation that began in the spring of 2019.

In May of that year, Moore was placed on administrative leave after supervisors learned about financial irregularities a month earlier. County detectives and independent auditors were called in to investigate. The investigation turned up questionable transactions dating back to 2013, three years after Moore was appointed township manager. She was arrested on embezzlement charges in December of 2019.

During the sentencing session, Kennett Township Supervisors' Vice-Chairman Whitney Hoffman told the court that Moore had betrayed the trust of supervisors and that of the more than 8,000 residents of the township.

"The township is still recovering," Hoffman said. "It's not just the money, [Moore] destroyed trust and smeared the names of good people…Records were left in a tangled mess. It's taken two years, and we're still untangling."

She told Bortner that she hoped he would accept the plea and hoped it would bring closure to the township and its residents.

After the session, Supervisors' Chairman Richard Leff said he was still trying to process it all.

"This was a big step," Leff said. "It turns a chapter. Funds are being recovered, and the criminal proceedings are concluded."

He said he would say more later, after the 30-day window of appeal that Moore has. However, it is unlikely that Moore would appeal since she agreed to the sentence.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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