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Daily Archives: December 20, 2018

Chester County District Attorney Opens Criminal Investigation Into Mariner East Pipeline

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Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the District Attorney’s
Office (the “DAO”) has opened a criminal investigation into the construction of the Mariner East
1, 2, and 2X pipelines being constructed through Chester County. This investigation includes the
owners of the pipelines – – Energy Transfer LP, Sunoco Logistics Partners, and related corporate
entities (collectively, “Sunoco”).
District Attorney Hogan stated, “In the last two years, we have seen these pipelines rip
through the heart of Chester County. We have seen sinkholes created by the pipeline drilling,
contaminated well water, and some subtle and not-so-subtle bullying of Chester County citizens
by big corporate interests. We expected the state regulators and the governor to step in and
assure the safety of Pennsylvanians. They have not. So now the Chester County District
Attorney’s Office will demand that every aspect of these pipelines be conducted safely, or we
will bring into play all of the tools of the criminal justice system.”
The Mariner East 1, 2, and 2X pipelines are intended to ship volatile natural gas from
western Pennsylvania all the way to Marcus Hook in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. These
pipelines cut directly through the middle of Chester County, bisecting heavily populated
residential areas, running near schools and businesses, and in close proximity to railroads and
streets.
The Mariner East 1 pipeline previously existed to ship refined petroleum under Chester
County running from the eastern portion of Pennsylvania to the west. Refined petroleum is a
very different substance than natural gas and Mariner East 1 is smaller than the planned Mariner
East 2 and 2X pipelines. Sunoco intended to build the Mariner East 2 and 2X pipelines along the
same route as Mariner East 1. In order to accomplish this, they intended to use horizontal
directional drilling, a process that can be problematic depending on the area where drilling is
occurring. Sunoco also introduced plans to reverse the flow of Mariner East 1 and use it to ship
natural gas under Chester County in the older and smaller pipeline.
The Mariner East pipeline construction has experienced significant problems. On the
property of homes in West Whiteland Township, the drilling resulted in significant sinkholes in
the residents’ back-yards. In another area of Chester County, the drilling caused the apparent
contamination of well water for multiple residences. In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, there was
an explosion along a pipeline, destroying a home. The Department of Environmental Protection
has fined the owners of the pipelines. But the construction of these pipelines keeps continuing.
“Two things recently happened that drew the attention of the District Attorney’s Office,”
District Attorney Hogan added. “First, the explosion in Beaver County changed speculation into
tangible danger and destruction. Second, over Thanksgiving, some of the residents of Lisa Drive
in West Whiteland were kind enough to take me onto their property and show me the damage
caused by the pipelines. The concerns and fears of those citizens were both disturbing and heartwrenching.
I then detailed District Attorney staff members to do the legal research to make sure
that the DAO had jurisdiction to investigate the pipelines and received an affirmative response.”
The District Attorney’s investigation will cover both past and future conduct related to
the pipelines. Potential charges include causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief,
environmental crimes, and corrupt organizations. Such offenses could include criminal charges
directly against the individual employees involved, from workers on the pipelines through
corporate officers. Sunoco has been advised of this investigation via a letter. See attached,
Exhibit A.
District Attorney Hogan stated, “This investigation will not be easy. It will take time to
dig into the historical information and we will need to constantly monitor any future activity.
But we are committed to protecting Chester County. And we will need our citizens to help.”
Chester County Detective Ben Martin is the lead investigator. The assigned prosecutors
are Alexander Gosfield and Myles Matteson. Anybody with information should contact
Detective Martin at 610-344-6866.
District Attorney Hogan concluded with, “We understand that only the Pennsylvania
Utility Commission or the governor can shut down construction of these pipelines, and neither
has shown any inclination to do so. But we can at least make sure that anything that happens in
Chester County complies with the criminal laws of Pennsylvania. We owe that to our citizens.
Money should not be allowed to trump safety.”


 

FULL PRESS STATEMENT HERE

Employee Embezzles Over $300,000 From Chester County Business

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Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrest of defendant
Cynthia Taylor for stealing over $330,000 from her employer, Ballymore Company, in
Sadsbury Township, Chester County Pennsylvania. Ballymore manufactures rolling
safety ladders used in many big box stores. The defendant used the company credit card
for personal expenditures and then doctored the internal records to cover up her crime.
The defendant has been charged with felony theft and related offenses.
The defendant is 37 years old. She resides in Gap, Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania. The defendant was employed by Ballymore as an account manager.
District Attorney Hogan stated, “Ballymore Company discovered this theft through
internal auditing and an internal investigation. It is an unfortunate reminder that all
businesses are vulnerable to insiders who abuse their position of trust. That is why
businesses, big and small, need to have internal safeguards and always keep an eye on
people managing the finances.”
The facts alleged in the criminal complaint are as follows:1

The defendant worked at Ballymore for seven years, rising to the position of Major
Account Manager. In this role, she reported directly to Ballymore’s president and was
responsible for managing the employee expenses account with American Express.
Ballymore had a business account through American Express and numerous employees,
including the defendant, were issued business credit cards.

1 A criminal defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
When the monthly statements came in, the defendant was responsible for checking
the employee expenditures and then coding the expenditures into the company’s internal
records.
In October of 2017, the company performed an internal audit, which revealed
significant discrepancies between the American Express statements and their
corresponding internal records. Ballymore acted swiftly and professionally by
performing an internal investigation, discovering the full extent of the problem, and
reporting the crime to law enforcement.
Ballymore discovered that the defendant had, since 2013, been using the company
American Express card for personal expenses. The defendant then covered up her fraud
by changing the records to appear as though she had incurred legitimate business
expenses. For example, in December of 2015, she used the company card to spend
$163.21 at Gamestop, an electronics and video game store. The defendant changed the
records to reflect that it was a business purchase from Amazon Market and coded it as a
business expense. The defendant employed this strategy at least 2,443 times from
January of 2013 until she was terminated from the company in November of 2017 after
the fraud was discovered.
Ballymore reported this crime to the Sadsbury Township Police Department, who,
along with the Chester County Detectives, investigated the theft. Based on a thorough
review of the records as well as Ballymore’s own internal investigation, detectives
confirmed that the defendant stole $331,563.00 from Ballymore, abusing her position for
personal gain. The defendant used the company card for gifts, purses, groceries, and
other personal items. She used the card to shop at stores such as Coach, Ralph Lauren,
Vera Bradley, Kay Jewelers, and Michael Kors.
The defendant has been charged with felony theft and access device fraud.
This case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives and the Sadsbury
Township Police Department. Anybody with further information should contact
Detective John O’Donnell at 610-344-6866. The assigned prosecutor is Brian D. Burack.