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Former Pa. ambulance service chief admits to fraud

The former Gilbertsville ambulance service chief of operations admitted to using company credit cards for personal purchases


Gilbertsville Area Community Ambulance Service/Facebook

By Carl Hessler Jr.
The Mercury

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The former chief of operations and executive director of Gilbertsville Area Community Ambulance Service faces two years of court supervision and is banned from the organization after he admitted to using the organization’s credit cards to make unauthorized personal purchases totaling more than $3,000.

Garry Roy Schmoltze Sr ., 69, of the 3200 block of Walnut Ridge Estate, Lower Pottsgrove, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to two years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of access device fraud in connection with thefts totaling $3,254.95 that occurred between April 2021 and July 2022.

Judge Thomas M. DelRicci, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Schmoltze to “stay away” from the ambulance service as a condition of the sentence.

Prosecutors supported the plea agreement only after Schmoltze paid full restitution before the sentencing hearing.

” Garry Schmoltze admitted that he obtained access devices for accounts belonging to the ambulance company and used them beyond his authorization. He used the credit cards to make personal purchases instead of purchases meant for the benefit of the ambulance company,” said Assistant District Attorney Gwendolyn Kull, explaining the nature of Schmoltze’s admission.

In court papers, authorities alleged Schmoltze made unauthorized credit card purchases for personal items including medication and home heating oil.

“For someone to come in and work for a volunteer ambulance company, a company that is supposed to benefit the community, and steal and take money from that company or deprive that company of money that is meant to go toward the community, is atrocious,” Kull added. “All of the money that he took as part of the access device fraud was meant for his personal gain for personal purchases.”

Other charges of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and deceptive or fraudulent business practices were dismissed against Schmoltze as part of the plea agreement.

Defense lawyer Christopher Daniels represented Schmoltze during the court proceedings.

” Mr. Schmoltze is glad that this is resolved and behind him and certainly is remorseful for what happened and has paid back all of the restitution,” Daniels said on Schmoltze’s behalf. “It was an oversight and a regrettable situation for him. But in the end, he made restitution.

“He spent over 30 years in public service,” said Daniels, referring to Schmoltze’s previous work in law enforcement and working for the county coroner.

Schmoltze was employed by the ambulance service from 2009 to 2022.

At the time of his arrest, authorities had estimated the theft from the ambulance service at nearly $9,000.

“When we went through the (credit card) statements it was readily apparent to both us and the commonwealth that a lot of the charges in the initial number were actually charges made for the benefit of Gilbertsville Ambulance,” Daniels explained. “A number of the charges to the card that were charged in the case were actually legitimate charges to benefit and for supplies for Gilbertsville Ambulance so, the commonwealth amended and removed them.”

The investigation began in July 2022, when Douglass (Mont.) Township supervisors notified township detectives of possible fraud committed by Schmoltze at the ambulance service located at 91 Jackson Road in the Gilbertsville section of the township.

The organization’s employees voiced concern about the credit card activity that was uncovered and recent changes at the facility, including Schmoltze changing access on a key fob system that denied employees access to the office area, according to the criminal complaint filed by Douglass (Mont.) Township Detective Robert Evans and Montgomery County Detective Dirk Boughter.

When detectives responded to the organization’s headquarters on July 16, 2022, organization officials reported uncovering questionable purchases made by Schmoltze with the organization’s credit card, according to court papers.

Schmoltze, when confronted by organization officials, admitted to the unauthorized personal charges and agreed to repay the debt in full, court papers indicate. However, the charges were not repaid at that time, court documents alleged.

Schmoltze subsequently was removed as chief of operations by the organization’s board during an emergency meeting.

In court documents, detectives said the subsequent investigation determined Schmoltze used his position as chief of operations and executive director “for his personal benefit and committed theft and fraud-related offenses in that position.”

Among the unauthorized purchases made by Schmoltze on the organization’s business credit card that was assigned to him were: medication through Express Scripts; home heating oil; testosterone supplements; gun cases; military backpacks; and Roku streaming devices, according to the criminal complaint.

“Garry Schmoltze Sr. has made no effort to pay GACAS for these unauthorized purchases, despite knowing the financial distress that GACAS has been under since at least 2019,” Evans and Boughter wrote in the arrest affidavit.

Court documents indicated that 27 of the unauthorized transactions, totaling $948, were for purchases through Express Scripts.

A Google search of three transactions, totaling $206.75, made between October and December 2021, “indicated that the product purchased was likely a testosterone treatment (pill form),” detectives wrote in the arrest affidavit.

“There is no legitimate reason for an ambulance service to carry that medication for Basic or Advance Life Support purposes,” Evans and Boughter wrote in court papers.

A Feb. 7, 2022, purchase from a Pottstown home heating oil company totaled $532.50 but officials said the Jackson Road ambulance service headquarters does not use heating oil for any purpose. Schmoltze allegedly admitted to making the purchase for his home and claimed he would pay it back, however, there was no record of Schmoltze ever repaying the amount.

Additionally, detectives alleged that Schmoltze used his position to apply for an American Express credit card in his name, but with the tax-exempt status of GACAS as a non-profit entity. The card was never authorized by the GACAS board or associated with the organization, detectives alleged.

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