PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States lawyer Jennifer Arbittier Williams has announced that Cheryl Lutts, 42, of Philadelphia, Pa., Has been arrested and charged with indictment of wire fraud and mail fraud. These charges arose out of Lutts’ employment with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and its affiliate, the Jewish Exponent, and later, the Encore series, d / b / a The Philly POPS! Lutts is no longer employed by either nonprofit organization.
The indictment alleges that Lutts used his position as director of business operations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and then controller at the Philly POPS !, to steal money from every nonprofit and the use to pay personal credit card bills, and for a wide variety of personal expenses billed to corporate credit or debit cards, including ridesharing services, airline tickets, entertainment, travel and accommodation, health and exercise services, utilities, education and career services, legal services, funeral and burial services, clothing, food and alcohol, and other items from retail stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, websites, restaurants and delivery services. The defendant is also accused of regularly using his personal credit cards and his corporate credit and debit cards to transfer company funds to various people who were not sellers of non-profit organizations. lucrative using, among others, PayPal and CashApp.
The defendant allegedly went to great lengths to conceal its fraudulent activities from its employers. According to the indictment, Lutts provided the management of both organizations with financial statements that did not include a balance sheet, or that included a balance sheet or bank reconciliation that later turned out to be false because it did not match account balances and / or transactions reflected on bank statements.
The indictment calls for the forfeiture of $ 1,443,375.57, which represents the total amount of money Lutts allegedly embezzled from the two former employers.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded hundreds of thousands of dollars from not one, but two former employers,” Interim US Attorney Williams said. “Nonprofits exist for the people and constituencies they serve, not as personal piggy banks for those charged with managing their funds. Our office will continue to pursue and aggressively prosecute those who rob non-profit organizations. “
“The usual reward of nonprofit work is personal growth, not financial enrichment,” said Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “Struggles, however, reportedly treated these organizations like its own ATM, flouting their efforts and the community in the process. The FBI will prosecute and hold accountable anyone who is foolish enough to engage in this kind of fraud. “
If convicted, the accused faces a possible maximum sentence of 480 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, a fine of $ 6,000,000 and a special assessment of $ 2,400.
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment, information or criminal complaint is an accusation. An accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.