The former borough secretary/treasurer of Springboro has pleaded guilty to stealing money while a borough employee.

Michelle D. Phillips, 50, of 12662 Harmonsburg Road, Summit Township, faces up to 35 years in prison and $75,000 in fines when she is sentenced next year after pleading guilty Thursday in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to five third-degree felony counts.

Phillips was charged in December 2018 by Pennsylvania State Police with stealing more than $92,000 in borough funds while employed by the borough.

Police allege Phillips took tens of thousands of dollars from payroll, water bill payments and other accounts between 2014 and 2019, using the money for her own purposes. Phillips resigned as Springboro's borough secretary/treasurer in March of this year.

Phillips pleaded guilty Thursday before Judge Mark Stevens to three counts of theft by deception and two counts of theft by failure to make disposition of funds in a plea agreement with the Crawford County District Attorney's Office.

As part of the plea agreement, five other counts of theft by deception, one count of theft by failure to make disposition of funds and two counts of unauthorized use of an automated teller machine card won't be prosecuted.

The five counts to which Phillips pleaded guilty have an estimated loss of $66.755.99 to the borough, according to Craig Howe, a Crawford County assistant district attorney. 

A forensic accounting investigation determined $92,328 had been taken in total by Phillips, according to arrest affidavit.

While Phillips pleaded guilty to five of the charges against her, she pleaded no contest to the amount taken.

In pleading no contest to the amount taken portion of the charge, Phillips didn't admit to taking that much money but agreed there was enough evidence for those amounts to be proven if a trial were held.  

Phillips remains free on $75,000 unsecured bond as she awaits sentencing Jan. 10. 

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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