Northeast Times

Woman pleads guilty in church 'scrip' theft

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A Brides­burg wo­man ac­cused of us­ing bogus checks to steal $1,000 worth of “scrip” from St. Mat­thew’s Church in May­fair has pleaded guilty to theft.

Com­mon Pleas Judge Alice Dubow on June 6 ordered Kath­ryn Clo­hes­sey to serve four years pro­ba­tion and pay full resti­tu­tion to the May­fair church.

Par­ishes throughout Phil­adelphia use the scrip pro­gram to fund their edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams. Churches buy gift cer­ti­fic­ates from vari­ous loc­al stores at a dis­count, then, in turn, sell the cer­ti­fic­ates to the pub­lic at face value. The cer­ti­fic­ates spend like cash in the des­ig­nated stores, while pur­chasers also re­ceive vouch­ers to off­set a por­tion of Cath­ol­ic school tu­itions.

The gift cer­ti­fic­ates or cards are known as scrip. Any­one can buy them and ap­ply the tu­ition vouch­ers to the stu­dents of their choice.

Ac­cord­ing to As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Dav­id Si­mon, Clo­hes­sey, 39, used her es­tranged hus­band’s bank checks to buy $1,000 in scrip from St. Mat­thew’s, at Cottman Av­en­ue and Bat­tersby Street.

Early last year, Clo­hes­sey — who is also known by her mar­ried name Kath­ryn Mauro — stole her hus­band’s check­book from his home and ini­tially tried to cash a check at a bank, but the bank turned her away be­cause her name was not on the ac­count, Si­mon said, cit­ing the hus­band’s state­ment to po­lice.

Clo­hes­sey then wrote two $500 checks to the church, one on April 26, 2011, and the next on May 2, 2011, in ex­change for scrip. Both checks bounced, Si­mon said.

Po­lice were called to in­vest­ig­ate. They ar­res­ted Clo­hes­sey last Septem­ber on charges of for­gery, theft, writ­ing bad checks and us­ing de­cep­tion to “se­cure the ex­e­cu­tion of doc­u­ments.” Clo­hes­sey had no known per­son­al con­nec­tion to St. Mat­thew’s, ac­cord­ing to the pro­sec­utor.

Clo­hes­sey pleaded guilty only to the theft charge. The dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice dropped the oth­er charges against her. ••

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You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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