PITTSBURGH, PA- Two residents of Clearfield County, PA, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of conspiracy and federal program fraud, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.
The five-count Indictment named John “Herm” Suplizio, 63, and Roberta Shaffer, 58, both of DuBois, PA, as the defendants. The Indictment was unsealed after the defendants were arrested today.
According to the Indictment, from 2014 to 2022, Suplizio, the City Manager of DuBois, and Shaffer, a city employee, conspired to divert and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds. As the full-time, salaried City Manager, Suplizio maintained substantial authority in DuBois, where he ran the city’s day-to-day operations. As alleged, beginning as early as 2008, Suplizio and Shaffer used the city’s tax identification number to establish secret bank accounts into which they diverted city money, including approximately $60,000 in annual administrative fees from the city’s waste management contract. During the alleged conspiracy, Suplizio and Shaffer made large cash withdrawals from these unaudited accounts, wrote checks to themselves and others, and obtained cashier’s checks with themselves listed as payees—totaling more than $350,000. The defendants also allegedly spent more than $450,000 from the accounts toward payments on Suplizio’s personal credit card, which he used to pay for personal vacations, utility bills for his residence, department store purchases, and jewelry store purchases, among other personal expenses.
“Herm Suplizio allegedly funneled city money into secret bank accounts that he and Shaffer controlled and that he could use for his personal benefit, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal credit card payments,” United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan said. “Our communities entrust public officials like Suplizio with tremendous authority, and when that trust is violated—as is alleged here—this office and our federal and state law enforcement partners will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“As alleged, the suspects abused their public positions and betrayed the public’s trust all while lining their own pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. “The FBI will always root out any and all forms of public corruption. We remain committed to ensuring those who violate the public’s sacred trust are held accountable.”
“I wish to thank our federal partners, who have adopted this prosecution and will work with an attorney from our office who is cross designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney,” Attorney General Michelle Henry said. “This federal indictment further validates our joint efforts to hold public officials accountable to the constituents they serve.”
The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 45 years’ imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Vasquez Schmitt and Robert S. Cessar and Special Assistant United States Attorney Summer F. Carroll are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.