Phyllis A. Shoff, 56, of New Cumberland, will serve 9 to 23 months in York County Prison, followed by 10 years’ probation for theft and access-device fraud.
“I wrote them to myself to cover my gambling debts, and so my family wouldn’t know,” a tearful Shoff said Wednesday as she confessed to using the symphony’s checkbook to write checks to herself that covered food, bills and hotel rooms for casino trips.
During her eight years as office manager, Shoff wrote checks to herself and to the name “Phyllis A. LoPresti” totaling almost $150,000. She also used two credit cards and a local bank card – meant to purchase symphony supplies – for bills and gambling expenses. Those charges totaled almost $70,000.
Shoff must pay $177,967.85 in restitution to Federal Insurance Co., the company that insures the YSO. Additionally, she will pay $42,994.78 to the YSO for the amount not covered by insurance.
“I’m satisfied with it,” said Henry Nixon, former executive director of the symphony, who first alerted police to the theft. “When something like this happens, it’s very personal.”
Nixon, who attended Wednesday’s hearing, said Shoff’s sentence met his main criteria of seeing her serve jail time and preventing her from being able to steal from an employer again.
“That was critical to me. She’s never going to be able to hold a job where she can handle money. That gives me a lot of satisfaction,” Nixon said.
Shoff had no comment after the trial.
“It is what it is. It’s what you heard in the courtroom,” said James Rader, Shoff’s public defender.
Nixon said the thefts did not affect the symphony’s programs.
Symphony treasurer Jolleen Biesecker provided a victim impact statement during Shoff’s hearing.
“There will likely be donors that never return. Ultimately, we had people trust us with their money, and it was stolen from us,” the statement reads. “Phyllis’s actions have caused some of our volunteers to become disillusioned as well as wary about continuing to work to raise money for an organization whose employee was able to do what was done.”
Judge Gregory Snyder rejected an initial plea deal that required Shoff to serve only 3 to 23 months in prison, followed by probation. The original plea took into consideration Shoff’s medical condition and gambling addiction, according to the prosecution.