A Palmer Township woman and former Tredyffrin/Easttown School District administrator is charged with spending at least $6,486.81 on personal gas fill-ups using school district credit cards intended for business use, according to court documents.
Toni Amerman Pulcini, 60, was arraigned Wednesday morning on six felony theft charges and more than 150 misdemeanors, then released on bail. She is due back in court March 6.
The transactions occurred from late 2011 to November 2012, the majority of them around Pulcini's Easton home. A review of charges between Dec. 9, 2011, and Dec. 9, 2012, showed 159 of the 196 charges—totaling $6,486.81 out of $8,369.29—were deemed "out of area" lost fuel, according to court documents.
Tredyffrin police say Pulcini admitted in emails and a videotaped interview to having misused the card after falling on hard financial times.
Pulcini, a transportation supervisor who was employed by the district for four years and earned $81,000 annually, said an online scammer had taken out loans in her name, leaving her unable to afford gas, according to the criminal complaint.
"I have loans for $30,000 and then I had to pay for rent, food and all that. I needed to get to work so I was desperate, scared and just trying to survive. Sometimes I didn't even have money for food," she is quoted as saying in court documents.
According to court documents, Pulcini used the card as often as every other day, keeping a record of all the expenditures at home. She said she intended to reimburse the district upon her impending retirement.
"[I]f you have to bring charges against me I understand fully," court documents say Pulcini wrote on Dec. 12, 2012, in an email to TESD Business Manager Art McDonnell after he first inquired about the charges.
Pulcini claimed to have stopped the fraudulent activity in November 2012, feeling overwhelmed by stress, according to police.
Pulcini has paid $8,369.29 in restitution to the school district, which no longer employs her.
"The District considers the misappropriation of District property to be an extremely serious matter and will continue to aggressively pursue full restitution of any other amounts determined to have been misappropriated," TESD said in a statement released by McDonnell.
Pulcini was charged with three felony counts of theft by deception, three felony counts of theft of property and 154 related misdemeanor charges.
She was arraigned Wednesday morning before District Judge Thomas Tartaglio and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. She is scheduled for a preliminary arraignment March 6.