BOSTON (WWLP) – A man and a woman are facing criminal charges for allegedly running two schemes in which about $600,000 was stolen from Springfield-based Peter Pan Bus Lines. Sixty-seven year-old Leonard Rottenberg of Charlestown pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday in a Boston courtroom, while 56 year-old Julie Katz of Chestnut Hill will be in court on a later date.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office alleges that the schemes began in 2009 and lasted over a period of five years. Katz was the owner of TourMappers North America, LLC; a tour bus company that received charter bus services from Peter Pan. Rottenberg had been the director of operations for Peter Pan’s division in Chelsea, and as such, was responsible for collecting money that Tour Mappers and other customers owed to Peter Pan.
“We allege these defendants have been working together for years to steal more than half a million dollars by cutting personal checks and authorizing fraudulent invoices,” Healey said in a news release sent to 22News. “Our office will continue to prosecute those who abuse their positions for their own financial gain.”
Prosecutors say that this is how the first scheme worked: Rottenberg told Katz to personally send payments to him, rather than to Peter Pan. Over the five year period, he received $550,000 in checks from TourMappers, which ought to have been received by the bus company. Rottenberg then issued personal checks back to Katz in the amount of approximately $200,000. He allegedly covered this all up by manipulating Peter Pan’s accounting records and misapplying other funds.
In the second scheme, Rottenberg allegedly presented fraudulent invoices to Peter Pan from TourMappers, claiming services such as translators hospitality personnel which were not actually provided. In total, about $50,000 was stolen from Peter Pan in this scheme, prosecutors say, and Rottenberg and Katz shared in the profits of this as well.
Rottenberg is charged with three counts of larceny over $250 by scheme. Katz is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property over $250.