Ex-Hope employee accused of stealing $33,714 from residents

A residential director of two Hope Enterprises’ homes was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Allen P. Page III Monday afternoon on a felony charge of allegedly stealing $33,714 from 13 residents.

Terri Lynne Stutzman, 43, of 532 1/2 W. Third St., allegedly removed funds from the accounts of those residents at 1511 Catherine St. and 1209 Miller St. from September 2012 to October 2013.

When she submitted receipts, they reflected her own purchases, such as a queen-sized bed, an air conditioner, a year’s membership to the Millbrook Playhouse, dining out, shopping and more, according to the affidavit.

Additionally, Stutzman allegedly collected $400 from five residents for a New York City trip in September 2012, but the trip never occurred, based on trip requests, mileage reports and Stutzman’s admission, Williamsport city police Agent Ronald L. Bachman wrote in the affidavit.

All of the victims were over 65 years old and physically or mentally handicapped.

“(Stutzman) stated that she was responsible as it was her job to be responsible. She stated that she was overworked, but never complained to management for assistance,” Bachman wrote.

Page noted Stutzman is cooperating.

The discrepancies were discovered on Nov. 8, as receipts for women’s clothes were submitted for a male resident by Stutzman, Bachman stated. Further, three more fund requests were made against the same account – after the resident had transferred out of the house and no longer was under Stutzman’s supervision, according to the affidavit.

Hope Enterprises suspended Stutzman pending its internal investigation, and Stutzman resigned, according to the affidavit.

Stutzman was released on $25,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.