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Charges: Penn State Harrisburg employee spent $10,000 in university money on personal items

Posted 10/2/19

A Dover woman and former Penn State University administrative support assistant faces charges after she allegedly used a university purchasing card to make personal purchases totaling nearly $10,000. …

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Charges: Penn State Harrisburg employee spent $10,000 in university money on personal items

Posted

A Dover woman and former Penn State University administrative support assistant faces charges after she allegedly used a university purchasing card to make personal purchases totaling nearly $10,000.

Lori Beth Hook, 42, has been charged with access device fraud, receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking and two counts of forgery.

According to the affidavit filed with District Judge Michael J. Smith, there were 76 transactions that totaled $9,851.93 from October 2018 to May 2019.

Hook made purchases from a number of places including Weis, Giant, Target, Etsy, Penn State University Harrisburg Bookstore, Plumpaper, Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, Best Buy, BHN gift card mall, and through PayPal for purchases at Justice, Dressbarn, Torrid, Mercari and broadway.com, authorities said.

According to Yvonne Harhigh, director of marketing and communications at Penn State Harrisburg, Hook was an administrative support assistant at Penn State Harrisburg from Jan. 22, 2018 to June 20, 2019.

In the affidavit, it is stated that Hook’s manager was the associate director of the Office of Student Life at Penn State Harrisburg.

Her case is listed as inactive, and she is awaiting a preliminary hearing.

“Penn State is committed to financial integrity, with existing university and campus controls and procedures in place that led to a review of this matter,” Harhigh said. “As Penn State is also committed to continuous improvement in its processes and systems, additional controls have been implemented as well.”

Penn State University’s Auditing Office reported to the Penn State University police that an employee was using a Penn State purchasing card to make what is described as private purchases.

According to the affidavit, the auditing office uses an internal “Purchasing Card Support Form” that tracks purchases, and a form appeared to have been altered.

Taped to the back of one of the forms was a template of the signature of the director of Student Affairs, and in the affidavit, the officer said it appeared that the signature had been traced. The director told police that she didn’t give Hook permission to copy her signature.

According to the affidavit, the auditing office conducted an investigation and discovered “irregularities” when they compared the forms submitted by Hook to the vendor-supplied documents and the report for the card that had been issued to her for “legitimate purchases for the benefit of Penn State University.”

An auditing office staff member met with Hook’s manager in the Office of Student Life at Penn State Harrisburg, and according to the affidavit, they couldn’t find some of the items listed on the purchasing card support forms.

The affidavit said Hook was placed on leave. Since then, packages have come to the office, including Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair season passes with her and family members’ names on them valued at $557.50.

In some cases, forms weren’t submitted for the items; the receipts were altered; or the form was submitted with a forged signature. In other instances, forms were submitted but the items weren’t given out, the event was canceled or wasn’t scheduled. Once, a correct receipt for $414 was submitted for an Apple 4 watch, but an Apple 3 watch was gave away instead and an empty Apple 4 watch case was found under her chair during the audit, according to the affidavit.

Hook and her manager allegedly discussed stockpiling items for the next school year, but Hook wasn’t given approval of the purchased items.

According to the affidavit, Hook was given permission to buy a 4K television and HDMI cable with the university’s permission for $166.79. The university is willing to waive the restitution if the TV is returned, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, the most expensive purchase was made in April for $646.86 from Amazon Marketplace for three $200 gift cards and a football inflatable cooler. One of the gift cards was allegedly used to pay her AT&T bill.

Hook was interviewed by police on Aug. 15, and signed a statement that she “acknowledge[d] the charges against me as substantiated and I accept full responsibility for my actions. I did use my purchasing card for personal purchases and did alter receipts to avoid being caught,” according to the affidavit.

Some of purchases include Game of Thrones Seasons 1 through 7 ($117.80); Nintendo carrying case and games ($112.37); desk organizers and cocoa mix ($55.62); an iPhone, screensaver and case ($233.04); 5Strands test, an Amazon security camera, a DNA test and Fuleda (auditors couldn’t account for these four items that total $405.98); a pet bench car seat, gift cards, activation charges and shipping ($559.79); and women’s crocs ($49).

More on spending

These details are from the criminal complaint against Hook.

Weis

- 5/10/19 $257.90 Hook did not submit a form. Hook admitted the purchase was for gift cards. The purchase was authorized but Hook still has possession of the cards.

Target

- 4/20/19 $300.00 Hook submitted the form correctly. However, no gift cards that were not given out Karaoke night and could not be located during audit.

Penn State University Harrisburg Bookstore, Barnes & Noble

- 5/3/19 $107.36 Hook did not submit form. No gift cards need in May. [Relative] graduated.

Plumpaper

- 5/2/19 $118.90 Hook did not submit form. Personalized planner.

PayPal

- 4/11/19 Justice- $291.05 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Items for girls ages 8-12.

- 4/15/19 Dressbarn $200.51 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Women's clothing.

- 4/18/19 Torridcom- $90.63 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Blouse, cardigan and shorts.

- 4/19/19 Torridcom- $33.67 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Shorts.

- 4/19/19 Torridcom- $150.41 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Jeans, 2 T-shirts, pants, shorts.

- 4/25/19 Broadwaycom- $178.71 Hook did not submit form.

- 4/27/19 Mercari- $24.00 Hook did not submit form.

Mazza Vineyard

- 4/12/19 $557.50 Hook submitted an altered receipt. PA renaissance faire season passes with Hook's name and others who reside with her.

Giant

- 4/4/19- $250.00 Hook submitted the form correctly. However, the event was canceled and no gift cards were not given out for the karaoke event and $175 worth of gift cards could not be accounted.

- 4/24/19- $136.47 No end of year summary event. Food and drinks.

- 4/24/19- $250.00 No end of year summary event. $250 worth of gift cards. 5/7/19- $259.90 Hook did not submit form and no need for gift cards all programming was over. $250 worth of gift cards and $9.90 for activation fees.

Etsy

- 3/29/19- $125.08 Hook submitted an altered receipt.

BHN Giftcardmall

-5/6/19- $55.95 Hook did not submit form.

Best Buy

- 4/25/19- $26.06 Hook did not submit a form. Ralph Breaks the Internet.

- 4/25/19- $31.26 Hook did not submit a form. Insignia wall bracket.

- 4/25/19- $117.80 Hook did not submit a form. Game of Thrones Seasons 1-7.

- 4/25/19- $166.79 Hook did not submit a form. 4K TV and HDMI cable. Hook claims to have at her house and was purchased with PSU knowledge. PSU willing to waive the $135.53 restitution for this TV with TV returned.

- 4/25/19- $291.91 Hook did not submit a form. Viper vehicle Remote Start.

Amazon Market Place

- 10/11/18- $41.09 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Avery Ultra Tabs, 2.5 x 1 , 4 Pack 2" 3-Ring Binders, Avery Snap-In Plastic Book

- 12/5/18- $9.99 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Metallic Marker Pen.

- 12/8/18- $40.84 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Glitter and metallic pens.

- 12/14/18- $22.22 Hook submitted an altered receipt. MINSA fashion and Monitor memo board.

- 12/15/18- $8.15 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Computer memo board.

- 12/15/18- $55.62 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Desk organizers, cocoa mix.

- 12/20/18- $17.24 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Liphisfun DIY Diamond.

- 12/20/18- $26.98 Hook submitted an altered receipt. You are my sunshine, 2 pack DIY Diamond.

- 12/23/18- $112.37 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Nintendo carrying case and games.

- 1/25/19- $22.79 Hook submitted an altered receipt. USB LED light.

- 1/27/19- $62.53 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Mario Kart game.

- 1/28/19- $16.96 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Busy bee file.

- 1/28/19- $94.21 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Busy bee items, writing utensils, chargers.

- 1/29/19- $6.85 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Diamond painting.

- 2/14/19- $26.45 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Cypress home.

- 2/24/19- $10.20 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Big thank you card.

- 3/1/19- $265.89 Hook submitted an altered receipt. USB LED light. Photo paper, mouse, SD card.

- 3/8/19- $202.31 Hook submitted an altered receipt. USB LED light. Games.

- 3/12/19- $57.91 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Mold check.

- 3/12/19- $47.65 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Vicks filter, Mo1oTAR 200Pcs 5"X7".

- 4/2/19- $18.79 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Eau de Toile.

- 4/2/19- $62.74 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Sunkissed Glow.

- 4/3/19- $26.99 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Glow after dark.

- 4/6/19- $119.06 Hook submitted a correct receipt. However, 2 items could not be accounted for in audit totaling $43.83.

- 4/9/19- $233.04 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Iphone, screen saver and case.

- 4/10/19- $65.20 Hook submitted the form with [Director’s] signature forged. The valet charger could not be accounted for in audit.

- 4/11/19- $98.34 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Apple watch charger, screen protector.

- 4/17/19- $415.89 Hook submitted an altered receipt. (2) $200 gift card and activation and shipping costs.

- 4/23/19- $ 646.86 Hook submitted an altered receipt. (3) $200 gift cards and football inflatable cooler. Hook used I card to pay her AT&T bill on 5/8/19.

- 4/24/19- $553.35 Hook submitted an altered receipt. 4 items could not be accounted for in audit totaling $405.98. 5 strands test, Amazon security camera, DNA test and Fuleda.

- 4/25/19- $461.90 Hook did not submit a form. Gift cards, activation charges and shipping.

- 5/2/19- $15.04 Hook did not submit a form. Assurant B2B 4yr.

- 5/2/19- $38.95 Hook did not submit a form. Honeywell replacement. 5/2/19- $334.72 Hook submitted an altered receipt. 7 items could not be accounted for in audit totaling $93.76 Air hockey, fun express inflatable, bone dry basket, Large dog toys, 2 football table cover and lifescripts.

- 5/3/19- $559.79 Hook did not submit a form. Pet bench car seat, gift cards, activation charges and shipping.

- 5/5/19- $210.95 Hook did not submit a form. Humidifier and humidifier solution.

- 5/6/19- $16.96 Hook did not submit a form. Book that the office did not request.

- 5/7/19- $11.97 Hook did not submit a form. Book that the office did not request.

- 5/8/19- $11.24 Hook did not submit a form. Book that the office did not request.

- 5/8/19- $114.29 Hook did not submit a form. Tens Unite, Apple watch case.

- 5/9/19- $35.50 Hook did not submit a form. Book that the office did not request.

- 5/9/19- $28.94 Hook did not submit a form. USB LED light. Computer speaker without prior approval and already had a replacement speaker.

- 5/9/19- $97.84 Hook did not submit a form. USB LED light. $46.25 appeared to be personal, apple watch accessories and floral bands.

- 5/10/19- $98.65 Hook did not submit a form. Avery tear-away stubs.

- 5/13/19- $178.98 Hook did not submit a form. Books that the office did not request.

Amazon

- 1/26/19- $49.00 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Women's crocs.

- 1/28/19- $56.36 72 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Women's Clarks.

- 3/17/19- $56.99 72 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Super smash bros.

- 3/17/19- $414.00 Hook submitted a correct receipt. However, an Apple 3 watch was given away instead of the Apple 4 watch that was purchased. The empty Apple 4 watch case was found under Hook's chair during the audit.

- 4/2/19- $ 27.42 Hook submitted an altered receipt. Miami Glow.

- 5/8/19- $80.89 Hook did not submit a form. Books that the office did not request.

- 5/9/19- $70.94 Hook did not submit a form. Books that the office did not request.