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Ex-Salvation Army major charged with theft

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    Cpl. Thomas Rodgers, left, guides Sharon Whispell into the Tamaqua Police Department Thursday morning. JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS

Published August 08. 2019 12:55PM


Sharon Whispell, the suspended local administrative officer of the Tamaqua Salvation Army, was arrested Thursday morning in York and brought back to Tamaqua to be arraigned.

The Salvation Army has found discrepancies in paperwork totaling $116,913.33, dating back to 2015.

Whispell, 53, is charged with theft by deception/false impression, theft by unlawful taking-movable property, receiving stolen property, theft by failure to make required dispensation of funds and tampering of records. Maj. Paul Cornell of the Salvation Army met with Tamaqua’s Cpl. Thomas Rodgers in June and informed him of discrepancies in the financial paperwork submitted to the Salvation Army Headquarters by Whispell.

After an interview with Lt. Colonel Larry Ashcraft at the Salvation Army Headquarters, Whispell admitted to recreating and submitting fraudulent receipts for reimbursement. Her suspension was made public on July 5.

“We are saddened to hear of the arrest of Sharon Whispell,” the Salvation Army said in a press release. “But The Salvation Army holds its officers to the highest standards of behavior. Conduct unbecoming of our officers is not tolerated.”

Cornell collected financial records from the Tamaqua Salvation Army and informed Tamaqua Police that they would be performing an audit of the financial records.

The audit illustrated $80,313.37 in fraudulent purchases submitted to the Salvation Army for reimbursement between October 2015 and June 2019, and $36,599.96 in fraudulent purchases submitted to The United Way between April 2017 and 2019 for reimbursement.

A criminal complaint was prepared on Wednesday and a warrant was secured for Whispell’s arrest. She was living in York at a space provided by the Salvation Army after her suspension, according to court records.

“Prior to Ms. Whispell’s arrest, we terminated her officership,” said the Salvation Army. “At all times, we made sure to maintain the full complement of services we provide the Tamaqua community. None of the people we serve lost services. So as not to interfere with the prosecution of this matter, The Salvation Army will have no further comment until its completion, but we pledge to continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and to work to keep the trust of this community that we hold dear.”

Whispell was arraigned in front of District Magistrate Stephen Bayer. Bail was set at $25,000 bond.

She was unable to post and was remanded to Schuylkill County Prison.

The York Police Department assisted with the arrest.


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