D.A. says ex-Chadds Ford worker stole $1 million-plus from Berwyn firm
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
A 59-year-old West Chester woman earned $200,000 from her Berwyn employer last year, but that wasn’t enough to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a vacation home in Chestertown, Md., Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced on Tuesday, April 28.
Joyce Hawkins, a since-terminated senior level employee for Modular Space Corporation (ModSpace), embezzled over $1 million from the company, Hogan said in a news release detailing her arrest.
“This case is about greed, greed, and more greed,” said Hogan. “The defendant was a highly compensated employee, but decided to abuse her position of trust to steal money from her employer. Her conduct is an insult to every person who does an honest day’s work and lives on an honest day’s wage.”
Authorities allege that money embezzled by Hawkins helped finance a vacation home and two boats in Chestertown, Md.
Authorities allege that money embezzled by Joyce Hawkins helped finance a vacation home and two boats in Chestertown, Md.
Hogan said Hawkins, a former employee at Endo Pharmaceuticals in Chadds Ford, began working as the director of compensation and benefits in 2009 for ModSpace, a Berwyn-based global supplier of both permanent and temporary modular construction. In that position, the defendant had the ability to set up accounts and order payments from ModSpace to other businesses, Hogan said.
According to the criminal complaint, Hawkins created a dummy entity called Caring Hearts, LLC, a bogus supplier of health-care related services and then added an account with ModSpace for Caring Hearts. She allegedly began directing payments from ModSpace to Caring Hearts, using the names of former employees of ModSpace for the payments. Hawkins listed her daughter as the president of Caring Hearts and forged her daughter’s name on a tax document, a scheme that funneled $1,035,763.55 into Caring Hearts’ coffers from 2010 to 2014, the complaint said.
In early April, Hawkins announced her retirement from ModSpace – effective April 18 – to take another job. Between the time she gave her notice and her last day, she attempted to steal an additional $122,510.56, the complaint said. The investigation by Chester County Detectives revealed that the payments supported a lifestyle that included the $417,000 Chesapeake Bay home and two boats, including a recently purchased $19,000 model, the complaint said.
ModSpace discovered suspicious activity after Hawkins announced her resignation but before her scheduled last day and contacted the Chester County Detectives, the complaint said, adding that Hawkins was terminated on April 17. She has been charged with felony theft, forgery, and related charges, the release said.
“A determined and trusted corporate insider can be very difficult to thwart,” said Hogan. “ModSpace and their counsel did an excellent job of conducting an internal investigation and referring this matter to the District Attorney’s Office when they realized the nature of the fraud. The Chester County Detectives did the rest. Chester County is home to many businesses, large and small, and the District Attorney’s Office will crack down on any corporate fraud.”
Hogan said Chester County Detective Tom Goggin is the lead investigator, and anyone with additional information should contact him at 610-344-6866. Prior to working at Endo Pharmaceuticals, Hawkins was employed at the O’Connor Group in King of Prussia, the complaint said.