Employee charged with stealing from Chesco Treasurer's Office

Sean Patterson is accused of embezzling money from the Chester County District Treasurer's Office.

An employee at the Chester County Treasurer's Office is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the county.

The Chester County District Attorney's Office said that 27-year-old Sean Patterson stole more than $5,800 from the Treasurer's Office, where he worked as an account clerk from 2011 until earlier this month.

Patterson, of West Chester, also made fraudulent adjustments to his office's computer accounts to cover up the thefts, leading to an additional loss for the county of more than $4,300, authorities said.

According to court documents, Patterson would take cash payments from taxpayers and give them receipts, but he would take the cash for his personal use rather than apply it to the taxpayers' accounts.

The Treasurer's Office contacted investigators in early May after internal controls detected accounting discrepancies, the documents state.

Patterson admitted to investigators that he took the cash and manipulated the office's records, according to court documents. He told detectives that he was under financial stress and needed the money to pay his bills.

Charges that include felony theft, tampering with public records and other offenses were filed today.

"Theft of taxpayer funds by a government employee is an extreme abuse of trust," District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. "The public has a right to expect government employees to do their jobs honestly."

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.