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Murrysville couple accused of bilking mental health program out of $200K

| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Murrysville couple have been charged with using two relatives as “ghost employees” and duping the former Westmoreland County Mental Health/Mental Retardation program out of more than $200,000, according to the state attorney general's office.

Steven L. Manns, 42, and Tammy A. Manns, 45, of Williamsburg Lane, are charged with theft, conspiracy and tampering with public records.

The Mannses operated Therapeutic Pathways, an early-intervention program where the county agency — now known as Behavioral Health and Development Services — referred children for therapy from various therapists.

Tammy Manns served as Pathway president and owner of the Export business and her husband, a former Derry Area teacher, worked there.

The Mannses submitted falsified time sheets that inflated the amount of money they should be paid or increased the county's expenses for people who did not work in the jobs listed, according to court papers filed by investigators.

Those reports were an attempt to reconcile the amounts the business billed the taxpayer-funded state Welfare Department and the county for the period July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, agents said.

Tammy Manns' mother and father-in-law, who have not been charged, were listed as a human resource officer or a financial officer, or as working more hours than they did for Pathways, investigators said.

Authorities got involved after the county agency questioned a report that Tammy Manns signed and her husband witnessed. The Mannses then submitted revised reports.

In the revised report, Tammy Manns listed herself as working 2,311 hours in direct program time for $147,709, investigators said.

Authorities interviewed therapists and others who disputed her claims.

Employee Jen Maselli “indicated that much of the work that was shown on Tammy Manns' time cards could not have been completed by Tammy Manns because Jen Maselli did that work,” investigators said.

Tammy Manns' personal assistant, Christene Smith, said she “rarely saw Tammy Manns working with the therapists or doing work related to Therapeutic Pathways,” according to an affidavit. “Smith stated that Jen Maselli ... did most of the work with the therapists.”

The revised report listed additional expenses for “undocumented compensation for the owner's mother, Mary Bradshaw, and father-in-law, Leonard Manns, totaling $92,964,” according to the affidavit.

Mary Bradshaw said she worked out of her home for Pathways during 2007-08 and received 1099 tax forms listing payments of approximately $4,000 per year, investigators said.

“She did not serve as human resource director ... and did not earn $46,000 in 2007 and 2008,” the affidavit states.

Investigators reviewed Bradshaw's 1099 forms and found she received $4,850 in 2007 and $3,990 in 2008.

Leonard Manns said he did not work as financial officer at any time and “he was not paid $46,379,” according to the affidavit.

Leonard Manns said he worked for the business in 2008; his records showed he was paid $333.38, according to the attorney general's office.

The submitted reports showed Steven Manns worked 2,080 hours for Pathways in 2007-08, “despite his full-time employment at a local school district,” the affidavit adds.

Austin Breegle, administrator of the county behavioral health agency, declined comment.

Attorneys for the Manns and the county agency did not return telephone calls seeking comment. The number at Pathways' office has been disconnected.

Both Manns are free on $20,000 unsecured bond. They face a preliminary hearing April 18 before Greensburg District Judge James Albert.

Steven Manns reached a settlement this week with the Derry Area school board over a grievance filed on his behalf. He was suspended without pay on March 1 as a science teacher “on the grounds that his behavior constituted immorality under the Public School Code.”

Parties agreed that action on the grievance would be delayed until the criminal matter is settled.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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