Court papers: Woman’s ghost workers collected $780K

Sharon L. Brandt (West Shore Regional Police Department)

LEMOYNE, Pa. (WHTM) – A woman accused of embezzling nearly $780,000 from a Cumberland County business created four “ghost” employees and cashed false paychecks for 15 years, according to court documents.

Sharon L. Brandt, 61, of East Pennsboro Township, created three employees in 2000, the year she became the human resources director of Cleanteam Building Services of Lemoyne, a contracted cleaning agency for commercial buildings, according to the criminal complaint.

Two of those employees remained on the payroll until 2015 and were issued paychecks totaling $270,095 and $281,623 respectively. The other was on the payroll from 2000 to 2009 and was issued paychecks totaling $115,202.

A fourth “ghost” employee, on the payrolls from 2009 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2015, was issued checks totaling $112,396.

According to the complaint, Cleanteam discovered the theft in October when it began moving all night-shift workers at the facility Brandt oversaw to daylight hours. Eight employees were listed on the payroll, but the company believed there was only four.

Brandt was responsible for hiring employees at the facility she oversaw, collecting time sheets, and distributing paychecks. A review of the cashed payroll checks showed that she had endorsed all checks written to the employees she created, West Shore Regional police said in the complaint.

Police said they also contacted a man listed as one of the employees. He told officers he never worked at Cleanteam and never gave Brandt permission to use his personal information.

In a police interview, Brandt admitted to creating the employees by using real job applications but changing some of the personal information such as birthdates and Social Security numbers, the complaint states. She told police she took the money for personal gains, such as replacing the roof on her house.

She is charged with theft by unlawful taking, identity theft, and forgery.

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