PITTSBURGH, PA - Two Clearfield County residents, John “Herm” Suplizio, 63, and Roberta Shaffer, 58, both from DuBois, PA, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of conspiracy and federal program fraud, as announced by United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan.
The indictment, consisting of five counts, was revealed subsequent to the arrest of the defendants.
As per the indictment, between 2014 and 2022, Suplizio, the City Manager of DuBois, and Shaffer, a city employee, purportedly conspired to divert and misappropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds. Suplizio, in his role as the full-time City Manager, wielded significant authority in overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. Allegedly, dating back to 2008, Suplizio and Shaffer established covert bank accounts using the city’s tax identification number, funneling city money into these accounts, which included approximately $60,000 in yearly administrative fees from the city’s waste management contract. Throughout this period, the defendants made substantial cash withdrawals from these unaudited accounts, issued checks to themselves and others, and obtained cashier’s checks, totaling over $350,000. Moreover, they purportedly utilized more than $450,000 from these accounts to settle payments on Suplizio’s personal credit card, which was used for personal vacations, residential utility bills, retail purchases, and jewelry expenses, among other personal costs.
United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan remarked, “Herm Suplizio allegedly channeled city funds into undisclosed accounts for personal gain, including significant payments towards his personal credit card. Public officials like Suplizio hold substantial community trust, and when that trust is breached, as alleged here, we will ensure accountability to the fullest extent of the law.”
FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall added, “The suspects purportedly exploited their public roles and violated public trust while enriching themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars. The FBI is committed to rooting out all forms of public corruption and ensuring accountability for those who betray public trust.”
Attorney General Michelle Henry expressed gratitude towards federal partners for jointly pursuing this prosecution, emphasizing the significance of holding public officials accountable to their constituents.
The law stipulates a maximum sentence of 45 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,250,000, or both. The actual sentence, as per federal sentencing guidelines, will be based on the gravity of the offenses and the prior criminal records of the defendants, if any.
Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Vasquez Schmitt and Robert S. Cessar, along with Special Assistant United States Attorney Summer F. Carroll, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.
The investigation leading to this indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
An indictment is an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by the justice system.