HERMITAGE Ex-official enters plea

MERCER, Pa. -- A former Hermitage receiver of taxes has pleaded no contest to a charge of tax collector embezzlement.
Rosemary Moses, 64, of Hasenflu Drive, Hermitage, was accused of diverting $92,000 in occupational privilege and wage taxes to her own use between 1986 and her retirement in early 2000.
The occupational privilege tax is an annual $10 fee assessed against everyone who works in the city.
She was initially charged with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, theft by unlawful taking, tampering with records of identification and tampering with public records or information.
Atty. Brian Farrone, an assistant Mercer County district attorney, said those charges were dropped in exchange for the no contest plea to a charge of "defaulting tax collector embezzlement."
That's a first-class misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison, he said.
Farrone said a no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is an admission by the defendant that, should the case be presented in court, the defendant would likely be found guilty as charged.
Moses entered her plea Wednesday morning before Common Pleas Judge Thomas Dobson.
Restitution payment
Farrone said Moses agreed to make a lump-sum restitution payment of $25,000 immediately and to relinquish her pension.
In addition to the $92,000 in tax funds, Moses will be required to pay the county $10,000 to cover court costs and the cost of the investigation, Farrone said.
Investigators said Moses had destroyed some tax records, and Farrone said an accounting firm had to be hired to examine the tax office books.
Although she's giving up her pension, that money won't be used to repay her debt.
She'll still owe $77,000, Farrone said.
Moses ran the receiver of taxes office from 1982 until her retirement in February 2000.
She was arrested in May 2000 and her case was scheduled for trial and postponed five times before the plea arrangement was reached.

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