Woman awaits sentence in embezzlement case nearly a year after plea

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Local theft charges against a Spring Garden Township woman remain in a holding pattern after she pleaded guilty to similar allegations one year ago in federal court.

In the federal case, Melinda Bixler faced charges she siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from her two senior care businesses and into her pockets.

She has not yet been sentenced in that case.

Melinda R. Bixler

While waiting for a resolution, a similar case in York County moved forward for the first time in more than two years in September when a district court judge in West Manchester Township decided to advance it to the Court of Common Pleas. The charges were originally filed in January 2020.

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A hearing was held Wednesday, and Judge Harry Ness agreed with a request by attorneys to reschedule the hearing for April 4 while the federal case is pending.

The feds accused Bixler, 50, of lying on bank statements and funneling money from her for-profit company, Elder Healthcare Solutions, and her nonprofit business, Adult Care Advocate, to purchase a $685,000 house.

She allegedly took $78,000 from a 94-year-old client’s bank account and also moved another $350,000 by claiming her son gifted that amount to her.

Bixler was further accused of forging a letter to a bank and claiming a house she purchased at 4070 W. Market St., which served as a home office for the two companies, was fully paid off. Investigators said she was still making payments on it.

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Bixler pleaded guilty March 28, 2022, in a federal court in Harrisburg to a count of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity.

The move came a few weeks after the case was filed, and she waived indictment by a grand jury in the process, according to court documents.

As part of the plea agreement, Bixler agreed to pay back $147,882 in misappropriated funds to three former clients. She would also resign from her companies, forfeit $129,357 from an Adult Care Advocates account and forfeit the West Market Street property.

Melinda R. Bixler

On the local level, Bixler is charged with three felony counts of corrupt organizations, two felony counts of theft, a felony count of receiving stolen property and a felony count of conspiracy.

The West Manchester Township Police investigation included further allegations that Bixler used funds to purchase a car, take her family on overseas vacations and possibly cover her son’s drug rehabilitation.

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She remains free in both cases after she posted 10% of the $200,000 bail a judge set in the York County case in January 2020, according to court documents.

The federal court also granted her release after she pleaded guilty last March.

— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.