UPPER DARBY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A longtime Upper Darby Township employee has been charged with stealing taxpayer funds.
36-year-old Jessica McCusker is accused of embezzling more than $216,000 from the township.
Investigators say she took cash payments from taxpayers while she was working in the Upper Darby tax office and then used that money for herself.
"What is most disturbing is that she used her position of trust with Upper Darby Township to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Upper Darby taxpayers," said Delaware Co. District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. "To add insult to injury, she used that money to purchase drugs and to pay her credit card debt."
Police say McCusker was fired after she admitted to the crime last June. She had worked for the tax clerk's office for 15 years.
She is now charged with 24 counts of theft following a year-long investigation. She faces up to 40 years in prison.
The mayor says a new system is already in place, with a new $800,000 computer system coming to avoid this kind of problem in the future. At City Hall, there will be no more cash payments for tax bills.
"It's a sad day for Upper Darby, for that family, for the families of all Upper Darby employees. Fortunately, the insurance company did reimburse for the theft," said Mayor Tom Micozzie.
McCusker was arraigned Tuesday afternoon, released on $250,000 unsecured bail, and outfitted with an electronic monitoring device. Her lawyer, Michael Dugan, indicated she hopes to cut some kind of deal for leniency.
"Ms. McCusker has cooperated with the authorities since the inception of this investigation. She has done all they have asked from her, she has sat down with them to make this as seamless as possible," Dugan said.
McCusker's rate of alleged theft rose steadily over the years, from nearly $3,000 in 2012 to nearly $70,000 in 2017.
McCusker was arraigned Tuesday afternoon before Justice Harry Karapalides.
Bail was set at $250,000 unsecured.
McCusker is slated for a preliminary hearing on June 11.
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Upper Darby employee charged with stealing $216,000 from township