Karl Breeden wasn't wearing a burglar mask and prowling around at night, but the West Manchester Township man was stealing as he wore a business suit and a smile to the office every morning, a prosecutor said Monday.
A jury agreed, finding the former chief financial officer of a Manchester Township business guilty of all four charges related to embezzlement of about $377,000 from the company.
Breeden, 52, of 2035 Parkton Lane, was found guilty of the felonies of forgery, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.
Chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday said the sentencing guidelines range from 9-18 months to 7-14 years in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28, with Breeden released under his current bail conditions.
Sunday said Breeden used three scams to embezzle the money in less than five years, after he became disillusioned because he wasn't made a shareholder of Advanced Industrial Services, 3250 Susquehanna Trail. Company president Michael Yergo said Breeden worked for the company from 1991 until he was terminated in June 2010.
Closing arguments were heard Monday morning, a week after the trial began.
Sunday told jurors Breeden took bonuses he wasn't authorized to take, cashed in more than $120,000 in vacation days he didn't earn, and wrote checks to himself using Yergo's signature stamp to sign the checks.
Defense attorney Suzanne Smith said Breeden was hired away from his successful accounting job in 1991 by promising he would eventually be an AIS shareholder. Years later, the relationship soured after Breeden spoke to company officials about his concerns because he hadn't received any shares of AIS, she said.
She said the company renegotiated and her client had been authorized to take the money. But Sunday told jurors that Breeden was angry and decided to steal money.
There was no written agreement proving he was entitled to the money, despite Breeden's claim that he didn't trust his employers because they "lied" about the shareholder agreement, Sunday said.
"So you don't make the liars write it down?" he asked the jury. "It makes no sense. It doesn't make sense because it didn't happen."
He used charts to demonstrate how Breeden allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars each year starting with 2006. His salary was $123,000 in 2006, for example, but he grossed more than $185,000.
Sunday said Breeden changed his scamming method from bonuses to vacation time after M&T Bank "raised a red flag" in 2008.
"You can only hide the scam for so long," he said.
Sunday said Breeden thought he was the most important person at the company, and that "the universe revolved around him."