Former Union City Manager Sentenced 18 Months in Prison - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Former Union City Manager Sentenced 18 Months in Prison

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The former Union City manager charged with embezzling more than $200,000 from the borough, will spend the next year and a half in jail.

On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Cheryl Capela, 60, to 18 months in prison on four counts of mail fraud.

"We believe the sentence to be fair,” said Union City Solicitor Tim Wachter.  “We hope that it would deter others from engaging in such crimes."

While working as the manager and treasurer of Union City, Capela admitted to using borough-issued checks to pay personal credit card bills and to purchase personal items.

"I'm happy with the sentence,” said Union City Borough Councilman Charles Steadman.  “It's good for the taxpayers.  Now they'll have a little faith in the system.”

According to prosecutors, a majority of the $203,000 that Capela embezzled, was spent on online video games.  Her lawyers argued that she played the games to cope with years of childhood abuse.

But prosecutors say that Capela knowingly abused her position of trust, carelessly spending taxpayer dollars on herself.

Prosecutors also pointed out, the impact of Capela's crime on Union City.

Taxes had to be raised, major street projects curbed, and police services went underfunded.

"It had a major impact on the police department and our ability to protect and serve the borough,” said Union City Police Chief David Pernice.  “Many people over the years, were victimized because we didn't have the resources available to us."

Capela was also ordered to pay full restitution.

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