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Former Candy Shop Owner Accused of Stealing Nearly $170,000 from Bellefonte Church

by on January 15, 2019 9:30 AM

The former owner of Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe is facing nearly 1,100 felony charges for allegedly embezzling more than $167,000 from a Bellefonte church where he served as treasurer.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Bellefonte police, St. John Lutheran Church pastor William Ostman and a congregation member who is a financial professional met in early January to discuss loss of money from the church's bank accounts. The congregation member said the church would be out of money in two years if action was not taken.

After discovering discrepancies in the bank accounts, it was found that Charles Kormanski, 56, had written 379 checks totaling $167,420.12 to himself from the church dating back to Dec. 25, 2011, according to police. Kormanski had been the church's treasurer since 1998.

"With all the evidence [collected] to date it appears the defendant did write himself checks with intention to deceive and steal from St. John's Lutheran Church over the past seven years for his own personal gain," a Bellefonte police investigator wrote in the complaint.

Kormanski faces 1,137 second-degree felony charges — 379 counts each of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. He was arraigned on Monday before District Judge Kelley Gillette Walker, who set straight monetary bail at $75,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.

“St. John Lutheran Church continues to cooperate with law enforcement relative to this case," a post on the church's Facebook page said. "We involved the Bellefonte Police Department as soon as we learned of this situation and we continue to be transparent with the congregation concerning what is happening. The individual in question has been relieved of any and all duties within St. John Lutheran." 

Kormanski opened Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe in April on West Bishop Street in Bellefonte. It closed in December.


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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