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Convicted $85K embezzler a no-show at York County Prison
A former Fairview Township bookkeeper who embezzled about $85,000 from her employer failed to report to York County Prison last week as ordered by her sentencing judge.
Nancy Marie Rittman, formerly known as Nancy Haas, was supposed to surrender herself at the prison by 5 p.m. Friday, May 4, according to court records.
She has so far avoided serving her punishment for nearly three years.
York County Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner issued that order the day before, during Rittman's sentence-reconsideration hearing.
He noted there would be no more delays, and that the time had come for her to serve her punishment, according to deputy prosecutor Deirdre Sullivan.
But Rittman, 44, didn't attend Thursday's proceeding, Sullivan said, adding Rittman's attorney advised the court that she had been admitted to a hospital in New Jersey. There was no proof offered in court that Rittman had been hospitalized, according to the prosecutor.
Eleventh-hour excuse? Sullivan said the prosecution's position is that the hospitalization claim was merely "an eleventh-hour excuse once again."
Rittman is formerly from Camp Hill but now lives in Bellmawr, New Jersey, according to court records.
On Tuesday, May 8, defense attorney Joseph Caraciolo said it was his understanding his client had been admitted to Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County.
A hospital receptionist on Tuesday said she had no record of Rittman currently being a patient, under either her current name or her former name of Haas.
"It is my understanding that the judge's clerk will be issuing a bench warrant (for Rittman's arrest)," Sullivan said.
Bortner issued the bench warrant for Rittman's arrest on Monday, May 7, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.
Sullivan said she reached out to Rittman's doctor when Rittman was a no-show.
"He did not return my call," Sullivan said. "But his office was surprised to hear about ... this situation."
'Pattern' recognized: Judge Bortner on Thursday "recognized a pattern of excuses" on Rittman's part regarding her not voluntarily turning herself in, according to the prosecutor.
"He had mentioned to her on her last hearing date, which was ... March 29, that she needed to be prepared to surrender herself (at her) sentencing hearing," Sullivan said.
Rittman had asked that her prison sentence be modified to house arrest because of purported medical issues.
"She claimed she's essentially too sick to go to jail," Sullivan said.
Rittman's medical records were supplied to hospital staff by the prosecution, including the head of the prison's health-services department.
"They were confident they could care for her," Sullivan said. "They are fully equipped to handle all of her medical needs. And that information had been communicated to her counsel."
The background: Rittman was convicted in March 2015 of a third-degree felony count of theft.
In May 2015, Bortner sentenced her to six to 23 months in York County Prison plus five years of probation and ordered her to pay $84,294 in restitution to her former boss, Jason Piper.
But at Caraciolo's request, the judge agreed to allow Rittman to remain free on bail while she appealed her conviction so she could care for her special-needs child.
In November 2017, the state Superior Court affirmed Rittman's conviction, court records state. It was later that month that the defense filed the sentence-modification motion on which the judge ruled Thursday.
During the 2015 sentencing hearing, Piper called Rittman a "ruthless, calculating thief ... (who used) my business and savings accounts as her personal cash cow."
Also at that hearing, Piper lamented the fact that he'd been warned "she'll probably get a slap on the wrist," and that he likely would never see much of the restitution she owes him.
Jurors determined Rittman stole the money while working as a part-time bookkeeper for Myndsi Design and MediaLion, businesses that were located on Yorktowne Road and owned by Piper.
Financially ruined: The thefts happened between January 2008 and March 2010, according to Fairview Township Police.
Rittman quit her job sometime after breaking off a romantic relationship with Piper, trial testimony revealed.
In 2015, Piper said he was tormented by the idea that he'd been living in his mother's basement for four years while Rittman lived in a nice home and took vacations.
"Everything I've worked for in my life has vanished," he said. "I'm rebuilding my life from scratch," albeit at minimum wage and with no savings.
The judge acknowledged the embezzlement "virtually wiped (Piper) out financially."
Fairview Township Police Chief Jason Loper expressed frustration that it took years to get the case to court and that Rittman has shown no remorse.
Anyone with information about Rittman's whereabouts can call their local police.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.