A plea deal in preparation for the coordinator of the Excela Health program accused of theft of scholarship funds


Lawyers told a Westmoreland County judge on Tuesday that a plea bargain is expected to be finalized this year for a New Stanton woman accused of stealing money from Exela Health Latrobe’s medical residency program and a scholarship fund.

Suzanne Strickler, 39, was charged in September 2020 with multiple counts of theft and forgery after police said she embezzled up to $ 75,000 of program funds and donations for her use staff.

In court on Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Worgel told a judge Strickler was prepared to plead guilty when a final tally of missing funds was completed.

“The general framework for a plea agreement has been developed. We think the final restitution is around $ 20,000, but we have to figure that out, ”Worgel said.

According to court records, police said Strickler, who worked as the student programs coordinator at Excela Latrobe Hospital, forged thousands of dollars in checks and received cash donations for scholarships under the hospital family residency program and annual resident graduation dinners for the Andrew Bagby Memorial Scholarship Fund.

At the time of Strickler’s arrest, investigators said she had embezzled checks for Bagby scholarships for students who had completed four-week rotations in the hospital’s medical residency program for her own. use, forged his own name and deposited the checks into his personal account.

Other checks have been amended to reflect larger amounts, police said.

Detectives said Strickler admitted to taking the money, told investigators she “was having trouble with the finances” and offered to return the money.

Deputy District Attorney Amanda Rubin said authorities now believe the amount stolen by Strickler was lower than police initially estimated. Final accounts are still pending. The plea deal will involve restitution payments for the stolen funds, she said.

“Restitution is a very important part of the deal,” Rubin said.

Four counts of theft and three offenses of forgery are pending against Strickler.

Details of the possible plea bargain were not disclosed.

The Bagby Scholarship Fund was established after the murder on November 5, 2001, of Dr. Andrew Bagby, 28, a hospital resident physician who was shot and killed by Dr. Shirley Turner. Turner, an obsessed ex-girlfriend, lured him to Keystone State Park in Derry Township, where he was shot.

The scholarship was created by Bagby’s parents David and Kate Bagby of Sunnyvale, California.

Rich Cholodofsky is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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