$90K stolen from University

Kathleen Dooley

Donna Engle, a former bursar’s office cashier, pleaded guilty on Oct. 30 to stealing more than $90,000 from the University over a two year period. She will be officially sentenced on Dec. 1, on the count of theft by unlawful taking.

Delaware County Assistant District Attorney William Davis is seeking an 11 and a half month jail term for Engle, who is currently free on bail.

According to Davis, Engle did not comment on the case after she entered her plea. “She didn’t give any reasoning as to why she stole the money,” he said.

When questioned by police, Engle said she did not realize how much money she stole from the University over a two year period.

“In my opinion, I think she’s lying,” Davis said.

Authorities report that from July 1999 to Dec. 2001, Engle falsified and changed office documents to hide sporadic thefts of substantial amounts of money from teller drawers and the bursar’s vault.

Between July 1998 and Nov. 2001, Engle removed $57,345 in cash from the office. According to Davis, University authorities became suspicious around this time.

These suspicions, however, did not stop Engle from stealing more.

“The last amount she took was $34,850, and that was on one occasion in December 2001,” Davis said. “Once she realized they were onto her, she took a large amount.”

According to Davis, bursar Charles Hoffman will testify against Engle during the Dec. 1 sentencing.

A co-worker in the bursar’s office first noticed Engle was mismanaging documents and funds. When Engle was confronted, she verbally assaulted her co-worker.

“We have reports that [Engle] was very harassing,” Davis said. “As a supervisor, she could basically blame her co-workers for her own mistakes.”

Engle’s actions were reported to the University, which hired an accounting firm to discover the exact amount of missing funds. Davis said the case was first reported to the police in Oct. 2002.

Engle, 50, began her career in the bursar’s office in 1991.

Her two children attended the University free of charge.

“She’s in a position of trust and she’s stealing ninety some thousand dollars … she gets free tuition for her two children and she violates the trust of everyone,” Davis, a University alum, said. “Now, Villanova will have to be more careful. She makes everyone more paranoid.”

Speaking on behalf of the bursar’s office, Barbara Clement, assistant vice president for public relations, discussed the University’s response to Engle’s theft. “Since this incident occurred in 1999, the University has put in place procedures that will prevent such actions happening in the future,” Clement said. “Fortunately, our insurance covered the stolen funds so that the University … did not lose any money.”

The theft has been widely unknown amongst the student body. “The incident at hand compromises the integrity of the bursar’s office and makes the student body question where their money is going,” Tim McGovern, Student Government Association vice president, said.

Delaware County judge Charles C. Keeler will decide Engle’s sentence. State law decrees that sentences over one year must be served in state prison, while sentences under a year can be served locally in Delaware County.