A South Strabane Township woman forged her employer’s signature on checks and stole more than $163,000, according to police.
Rana Ranalli, 49, of Mitchell Road, faces 156 counts of forgery and one count of theft by unlawful taking. The charges were filed this week by Washington police.
Since 2015, Ranalli worked as the office manager for Washington attorney Timothy Berggren.
“During that time, she was solely responsible for the day-to-day financial activity of the law firm, among other duties,” Washington Det. Daniel Rush wrote in the criminal complaint.
Berggren noticed fraudulent activity in the firm’s bank accounts after a check bounced in August. On Sept. 3, he reviewed transaction records and found unauthorized transfers between accounts.
That day, he asked Ranalli for an explanation, and she never returned for work.
Police reviewed the firm’s financial records and found Ranalli had forged her signature on 156 checks, which were deposited to two Chrome Federal Credit Union Accounts. The amount deposited totaled $163,325.74, police said.
However, police were only able to validate $98,758.73 of the forged checks, which were deposited between Feb. 2016 and Aug. 2019.
“The remaining balance of the reported stolen funds could not be reconciled,” police said, but bank records showed large deposits made to one account that coincided with the dates on the forged checks.
Berggren declined to comment on the case.
Police said they have been unable to interview Ranalli. She provided police with the name of an attorney, but the attorney told police she had not paid a retainer.
Online court records do not list an attorney for Ranalli. She is scheduled to appear before District Judge Robert Redlinger for a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. Nov. 13.