Notary accused of bilking clients $400K | News, Sports, Jobs – timesobserver.com

Feb 25, 2022
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Brenda Gibson, accused of stealing over $800,000, is escorted out of Courtroom B at the Warren County Courthouse on Thursday after a preliminary arraignment.
A Warren County notary, already accused of stealing over $400,000 from previous employers, faces new charges for allegedly stealing over $400,000 from her customers.
Brenda L. Gibson, 58, of Pittsfield, was arraigned Thursday afternoon before District Judge Laura Bauer.
Gibson is charged with two counts of theft by unlawful taking, two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, and two counts of receiving stolen property.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, read by Bauer during the hearing, Gibson accepted payments at her notary business from 714 individuals between January 2020 and December 2021. From those payments – for sales tax, registrations, and titles – $339,718.07 should have been forwarded to PennDOT, but were not, according to the affidavit.
Because the amount was over $100,000, Gibson is charged with felonies of the second degree in relation to those alleged thefts.
According to the affidavit, Gibson also allegedly failed to send $81,018.18 to PennDOT from 15 “apportionment registrant business owners.”
Charges related to that allegation are felonies of the third degree.
According to the affidavit, PennDOT had suspended its agreement with Brenda Gibson Notary of 1595 Market St., Warren, multiple times in 2020 and 2021, before terminating the agreement on Aug. 9, 2021.
The department conducted an audit of Gibson’s business later that month, according to the affidavit, and found hundreds of outstanding applications that were never forwarded by Gibson to the department.
In addition to the amounts that were intended to be paid to PennDOT, Gibson collected a fee of “at least $55 to process the transaction” from the 714 individuals and 15 businesses, according to the affidavit.
Gibson “failed to forward” $420,736.25 “while collecting $40,095 for services never rendered,” according to the affidavit.
Bauer explained that Gibson could face not more than 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for each of the three second-degree felonies and not more than seven years and a $15,000 fine for each of the three third-degree felonies.
She then set cash bail at $250,000 and a preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 8.
Gibson was already incarcerated in the Warren County jail.
Related to a previous docket, she faces 13 felonies and three misdemeanors related to allegations that she stole $134,000 from Dyke’s Garage in Bear Lake, where she was employed for 16 years, and $325,000 from Deerfield Township, where she had been secretary/treasurer for six years.
The bail related to those charges was also $250,000 cash.
Formal arraignment on those charges is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 10.
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