THEFT INVESTIGATION - PENN NATIONAL GAMING
DEFENDANT: Denise M. Bitler (56 Years Old)
Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426
CHARGES: Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received
Theft by unlawful taking or disposition
Theft by deception
Access device fraud
Unlawful use of computer and other computer crimes
Receiving stolen property
DETAILS OF INCIDENT:
On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the Berks County Detectives Office initiated a criminal investigation after meeting with representatives from Penn National Gaming, which is headquartered at 825 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
During this meeting, the Berks County Detectives learned the following:
The victim, Penn National Gaming, owns and operates (41) forty-one casinos and racetracks in (19) nineteen states.
The defendant, Denise M. Bitler, was employed as the Director of Benefits for Penn National Gaming from October 2014 through June 2019. As the Director of Benefits, one of her duties was to facilitate a companywide wellness program which included such activities as health fairs, health initiatives, volunteer opportunities, etc. When an employee participated and/or successfully completed a goal of the wellness program, they were eligible for an award or prize. A majority of the awards and prizes were pre-paid gift cards which were purchased by Penn National Gaming. Most of the pre-paid gift cards were either $25.00 or $50.00.
The defendant was responsible for ordering, maintaining and distributing the pre-paid gift cards to the Human Resource Officer at the Penn National Gaming, casino or racetrack, who was in charge of running that particular wellness program. The defendant kept the pre-paid gift cards secured inside her office.
The representatives from Penn National Gaming also reported that the defendant defrauded the company during 2018 and 2019, by mis-using the pre-paid gift cards. The defendant used the pre-paid gift cards for personal use.
Additionally, the Berks County Detectives learned that the defendant falsified her Penn National Gaming medical enrollment forms for the past (2) two years. She enrolled herself and a family member as non-smokers, when in fact they are currently smokers. This deceptive practice avoided her paying a $50.00 surcharge, per month, per person, for a total savings of $1,200.00 per year.
Throughout the course of this criminal investigation, the Berks County Detective’s obtained and executed a total of (10) ten Search Warrants related to the forensic examinations of cellular telephones, computers, financial records, business records, etc.
As a result of this labor intensive and exhaustive criminal investigation, the Berks County Detective’s determined that Penn National Gaming suffered a financial loss of at least $75,349.43, due to the Theft and mis-use of the pre-paid gift cards which were used by the defendant for personal gain.
The defendant used the pre-paid gift cards on vacations, medical bills, retail purchases, etc.
On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, the Berks County Detective’s Office filed criminal charges against the defendant, Denise M. Bitler, at Magisterial District Judge Eric Taylor’s Office and an arrest warrant was issued for the defendant.
On Thursday, December 12, 2019, at approx. 8:00 A.M., Denise M. Bitler surrendered to the Berks County Detectives. She was immediately escorted to the Central Processing Center which is located in the Berks County Courthouse and released into the custody of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department.
The defendant will be fingerprinted and photographed.
She will also have a preliminary arraignment via video today before a Magisterial District Judge.
As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation, and the defendant Denise M. Bitler is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.