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Mercer County company manager accused of embezzling $1.1 million

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 12:13 a.m.

The accounts payable manager for a Mercer County chemical company embezzled more than $1 million and gambled it away at a casino, according to charges filed Tuesday by Heritage police.

Jeanne Marie Zacherl, who was a 22-year employee of Interstate Chemical Co. in Hermitage, was charged with theft for embezzling $1,126,763 between October 2008 and Sept. 19, according to a criminal complaint.

Zacherl, 64, whom company officials called a “trusted” accounts payable employee, admitted losing the money in wagers at Mountaineer Racetrack & Casino near Chester, W.Va., the complaint states.

Company officials notified police this month after they suspected her of “making fraudulent deposits in nonexistent vendor accounts,” said Brian Blair, Hermitage deputy police chief.

Zacherl of Mercer was arraigned before District Judge Ronald E. Santos and released to await a preliminary hearing on Nov. 15. She could not be reached for comment.

“We are not going to make any comment until the case is resolved,” said Michael Puntureri, chief operating officer of Interstate Chemical, which is located on Freeland Road.

According to the complaint:

Puntureri called police on Oct. 9 to report that company officials believed Zacherl — who earned $50,000 a year — had created fictitious vendor names and wired hundreds of thousands of dollars in the name of these bogus vendors to her personal bank account. The company had been alerted by bank officials.

Police Capt. Eric Jewell interviewed Zacherl the next day, and she admitted embezzling about a million dollars over the past seven years, transferring the money into $50,000 lines of credit.

She said she would make ATM withdrawals at Mountaineer “where she said she gambled the money away via $10 slots.”

Zacherl's husband, Daniel, has worked for Interstate Chemical as a truck driver for 27 years.

He has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and his wife told Jewell he did not know about nor participate in her activities.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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