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Three accused of taking funds

Former employees of Hollidaysburg firm allegedly skimmed thousands

Three former employees of a Hollidaysburg real estate closing company now face felony charges for the alleged theft of close to a quarter of a million dollars.

Jodie Potter Neely, 53, of Hollidaysburg, along with Stephanie D. Wyant, 52, of East Freedom and Mandi L. Claycomb, 35, of Altoona were arraigned Thursday on felony charges that include criminal conspiracy, theft by deception and receiving stolen property for their alleged roles in skimming thousands of dollars from the bank accounts of Allegheny Real Estate Closing Co. Inc. in Hollidaysburg.

In all, $231,872.91 was stolen over the span of years, according to charges filed by Hollidaysburg Borough police.

The investigation started in late December 2018, and after a review of the business’ books by a forensic accountant, it was learned that Potter Neely, who was the office manager, had forged a signature in order to change the required signatures for the company’s operating account from two signatures to just one, police noted in the charges.

Police said the examination of the company’s financial records also revealed off-the-books transactions in connection to the company’s escrow account, and from 2013 through 2018, Potter Neely allegedly received payments from that account totaling $8,582.25, while also distributing unauthorized raises and bonus payments to Wyant and Claycomb.

From 2009 through 2018, Wyant allegedly received payments from the escrow account totaling $24,708.12 and from 2005 through 2018, Claycomb allegedly received $32,775.50, police contend. These payments were apart from their salaries and bonuses, and all payments were authorized by Potter Neely. Police pointed out that Wyant and Potter Neely were friends and that Wyant was hired as a part-time employee in 2008 with Potter Neely making her a full-time employee in 2018. Claycomb worked for the company between 2003 and 2018.

“There was also additional misappropriation of funds through mileage payments, credit card payments, health insurance, petty cash and additional payments made out to various individuals known to Potter (Neely),” Hollidaysburg police Officer Bryan Ketner wrote in the charges.

No attorneys were listed for any of the three suspects as of Thursday. Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner arraigned Potter Neely, Wyant and Claycomb on Thursday and they were released on unsecured $75,000 bonds. A preliminary hearing is slated for Jan. 28.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.

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