No prison time for former Spring Garden Twp. tax collector who stole $300K


The former Spring Garden Township tax collector and treasurer who pleaded guilty in March to stealing more than $300,000 from the township will not spend any time behind bars.

Melissa Ann Arnold, 46, was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg.

Arnold has to pay back the full amount of the money she stole, plus $28,000, the release states. It says she has already paid back close to $50,000. The local government had submitted an insurance claim for the money she stole, and received a "significant payment," according to the release.

Arnold, who was the tax collector and treasurer of Spring Garden Township from 1995 until state and township police and then the FBI began investigating her in 2009, was charged with theft of public funds for depositing checks intended for the township into her personal bank account. The release states she was able to do that because many of the checks were written out to her.

Online court documents say she took the money between the start of 2008 and when she stopped working for the township in October 2009.

Arnold and her lawyer signed the plea agreement in January, and the federal prosecutor signed it in February, according to online court documents. The plea deal was finalized in March, according to the news release.

Federal Judge Sylvia H. Rambo could have sentenced Arnold to as much as 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Spring Garden Township Police, the FBI and state police.

Arnold's attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

— Reach Sean Cotter at