Kilhoffer pleads guilty to theft of county tax money

RIDGWAY – Stephanie Ann Kilhoffer, 51, of Brockport, pleaded guilty to the charge of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, a third-degree felony offense, on Monday afternoon. Kilhoffer appeared before the Honorable Judge Richard Masson with her attorney, Thomas G. Coppolo, at 1 p.m. According to information provided during the proceedings by District Attorney Brad Kraus, Kilhoffer was previously employed by Elk County's Tax Claim Bureau Office, and between March 1, 2007 and May 31, 2009 deleted records of payment for a number of taxpayers and never properly deposited the funds for the county. The issue came to light after a taxpayer received a notice in 2009 indicating that his taxes were unpaid; however, that individual was able to produce a receipt indicating that he had in fact made the payment. An internal investigation was conducted and Kilhoffer was ultimately linked to the deletions. In October 2009, a report put together by a CPA firm corroborated the findings of the internal investigation. The sum of $8,200 was paid for an audit, and it was determined that 62 payments made by taxpayers, with an aggregate amount of $48,377.50, had been deleted from the computer system. It was also noted that Kilhoffer cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation and assisted in providing information that was used in the case against her. She also admitted to not turning the money over to the tax claim office. Kraus also indicated that Kilhoffer waived her right to a presentence investigation report and wanted to proceed directly to sentencing. Kilhoffer was sentenced to incarceration at Elk County Prison for a period of no less than six months to no more than 24 months less one day, with the sentence to be effective May 2. She noted during her dialogue with Judge Masson that she is currently employed at Clarion Sintered Metals in Ridgway and works second shift. Because of this, Judge Masson also agreed to grant her the privilege of work release. She was also placed on probation for a period of five years, to be served consecutive to her sentence of incarceration. She must also pay $35 supervision fees, $250 for DNA testing and assessment, restitution in the amount of $56,577.50 to the County of Elk or to the County Commissioners of Pennsylvania Insurance Program, and $285.25 for the cost of prosecution. She must also forfeit a portion of her pension plan as is necessary to satisfy the amount of restitution owed and execute all documents necessary to effectuate the forfeiture of that portion of her pension. Based on Coppolo's request, no fine was imposed.