Forensic accounting detects $100k embezzlement: Charges filed

The former manager of a Richland Township, Pennsylvania, business was ordered to stand trial on charges that he embezzled more than $100,000 during a five-year period.

Daniel Joseph Hockenberry was ordered held for court following a 3 1/2-hour preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge Rick Varner of Salix.

Hockenberry pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Andrew F. Skala of Greensburg.

Hockenberry was employed by Sporting Goods Discounters as manager of its subsidiary, 3D Graphix on Scalp Avenue, when he allegedly stole the money between January 2006 and February 2011.

Dennis Salem, owner of the sporting goods store, said discrepancies in invoices for 3D Graphix alerted him to the thefts.

"We were doing a ton of business and losing a ton of money," he said. "I did some serious digging for about a year and a half."

Salem said he found that dollar amounts on the invoices he received from Hockenberry were less than the amounts charged to customers. Salem alleged that Hockenberry pocketed the difference.

"I couldn't believe it," Salem said.

The CPA firm of Wessel and Co. of Johnstown conducted a forensic audit and Richland police filed charges.

Stephine Stohon, a shareholder in Wessel and Co., testified and listed some of her findings in what she called a "false invoice scheme":

  • Invoices were altered so the differences could be retained as cash.
  • Checks for 3D Graphix were made out directly to Hockenberry.
  • An email stated that all checks were to be made to Dan Hockenberry.
  • Unauthorized purchases were made on a company credit card.

"A lot of things looked odd," Stohon said.

Richland police Detective Thomas Keirn testified that Salem had given Hockenberry $1,000 for the Greater Johnstown High School football team but the team never received the money.

Hockenberry was charged with six felony counts each of theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, receiving stolen property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities. The investigation was turned over to the state attorney general.

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Copyright 2013 - The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

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