Local notary charged with many felonies | News, Sports, Jobs – timesobserver.com
Oct 5, 2021
A long-time Warren County notary faces numerous felony theft charges related to other employment.
Brenda L. Gibson, 57, of 1025 Gibson Road, Pittsfield, faces two counts of theft by unlawful taking; two counts of receiving stolen property; two counts of theft by deception; two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds; forgery; deceptive business practices; restricted activities — conflict of interest; and two counts of other reason access device is unauthorized by issuer (all felonies); and misdemeanors tamper with records or identification; and two counts of misapply government or entrusted property.
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Gibson was employed by Dyke’s Garage in Bear Lake, where she handled business accounts and payroll for 16 years, and by Deerfield Township as secretary and treasurer for six years.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the owners of Dyke’s Garage were informed by a supplier that their account was past due. “The Dykes contacted Gibson and inquired as to why this vendor had not been paid,” officers said. “Gibson responded by telling the Dykes to ‘work harder’ to pay their bills.”
The owners reviewed business accounts at local banks and “identified many unauthorized and fraudulent transactions conducted by Brenda Gibson,” according to the affidavit. The alleged amount in fraudulent withdrawals from one bank since January 2021 was $99,081.47. “Many of the checks were either made out to Brenda Gibson or her business, Gibson Notary.”
“According to the Dykes… Gibson was the only one who maintained the password and had access to the account online,” according to the affidavit.
The records at another bank indicated that, since January 2020, Gibson made fraudulent withdrawals in the amount of $35,150 — made out to Brenda Gibson, or Gibson Notary, according to the affidavit.
“The Dykes never gave permission to Gibson to write checks to herself or pay her bills through their bank accounts,” according to the affidavit. “The total loss sustained by Dyke’s Garage for both business accounts is $134,231.47.”
On the same day officers met with the owners of Dyke’s Garage, they met with representatives of Deerfield Township.
According to the affidavit, Gibson handled five accounts — liquid fuels, general fund, payroll, and two money market accounts — for the township, and had “executive online access to all the accounts.”
The township reviewed its accounts that were maintained by Gibson following media and social media reports that Gibson’s notary business “may have been conducting inappropriate monetary transactions,” according to the affidavit.
That review resulted in the alleged discovery of five “misappropriated transactions” of $111,000 from the liquid fuels account and 21 totaling $214,000 from the general fund, since January 2020, according to the affidavit.
According to officers, Gibson presented the August 2021 balance sheet report to the township supervisors, reflecting a balance of $212,750. The total in all accounts at the end of August, according to the township’s review, was $6,544.54.
Checks bearing the signature of Supervisor Raymond Hagg were reviewed and eight were determined to be forgeries, according to the affidavit.
“The board of supervisors never gave permission to Gibson to write checks to herself of pay her bills through their bank accounts,” according to the affidavit.
Gibson has been a commissioned notary since April 1, 1998, according to records from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
In recent weeks, officers from the attorney general’s office and Conewango Township Police have searched her North Warren office and seized documents more than once.
Gibson’s office generated concerns and actions by PennDOT and State Rep. Kathy Rapp over the past few months when payments for vehicle services – including titles, registrations, and other documents – handled through the office did not go through.
Gibson, who once campaigned for the position of magisterial district judge, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Todd Woodin at 10:15 a.m. Monday.
She was released on $250,000 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26.
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