Former Phoenixville-Area School District Finance Director Sentenced to Over One Year in Prison For Embezzling District Funds

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Christopher Gehris, 47, Phoenixville, PA, was sentenced today to one year and two months in prison and three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay over $94,000 in restitution by United States District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg for embezzling that amount from the Phoenixville Area School District (PASD).

In February 2022, the defendant pleaded guilty to embezzlement from a program receiving federal funding and admitted that he stole approximately $94,613 from the PASD. In 2006, the defendant was hired as a controller for the PASD’s Business Office and later promoted to business manager. In 2018, he was appointed to serve as the Director of Finance. From 2013 until 2019, Gehris cashed checks made payable to himself and to “cash,” received checks and direct deposits into his personal checking account for “start-up money” for student activities, stole cash from school programs, and obtained gift cards for personal expenditures – all in furtherance of his embezzlement scheme. He also admitted that he hid his thefts by altering receipts and falsifying reports submitted to the Board of School Directors.

“The defendant stole nearly $100,000 from a public school district, money, some of which was specifically allocated for student activities meant to enhance their educational experience,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Criminals that embezzle public money from schools are ripping off hundreds of students while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund them.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Phoenixville Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terri A. Marinari.