By Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - The former business manager of a Catholic school in northwestern Pennsylvania will spend seven years on probation after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $170,000 from it.

But the sentencing judge and prosecutor didn’t get what they wanted most: a show of remorse.

Although he was ordered to pay restitution to St. Peter Cathedral School in Erie, David Earls told the judge he wouldn’t promise to get a job to repay the money and claimed he was entitled to most of it, the Erie Times-News ( ) reported.

Investigators determined Earls stole most of the money between 2001 and 2012 by giving himself unapproved raises. At his sentencing Tuesday, Earls told Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender that the raises were approved, only to be “disapproved” later.

Earls, 63, also pleaded guilty to making more than $14,000 in unauthorized purchases using school credit cards.

The thefts came to light when Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico ordered an audit after the Internal Revenue Service filed a $301,000 lien against the school in February 2013 for unpaid federal income taxes. That occurred because the school hadn’t paid the IRS money that had been withheld from employee paychecks in 2011 and 2012, when Earls was still the school’s business manager.

Though Earls was never charged in connection with the lien - which was paid off by donations - the other thefts were discovered and Earls and his wife were charged.

Earls agreed to plead guilty and accept full responsibility for the thefts after prosecutors agreed to drop a receiving stolen property charge against his wife, Anne, 63, who has cancer and now lives with him in Falmouth, Maine.

Earls has paid $25,000 restitution so far, but he balked at getting a job, saying he must care for his wife.

“We are disappointed that the defendant showed no remorse and seemed to distance himself from his wrongdoing,” District Attorney Jack Daneri said, adding that Earls “gave the court no assurances whatsoever that the money would be paid.”

The judge seemed to acknowledge the money won’t be entirely repaid, telling Earls, “Most likely you will go to your grave on the plus side, compared to St. Peter School.”


Information from: Erie Times-News,

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