Utah flight school manager stole $220K in tuition, payroll, charges say

Utah flight school manager stole $220K in tuition, payroll, charges say

(Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL)

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WOODS CROSS — A former administrative manager for a Woods Cross flight school has been charged with stealing more than $200,000 in tuition and payroll money.

Shawn Marie Puntasecca, 42, of Roy, was charged Friday in 2nd District Court with theft by deception, engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and communications fraud, all second-degree felonies.

From about September 2016 until she was fired in May 2019, Puntasecca is accused of stealing about $221,300 from the FLT Academy, a postsecondary education institution that gives flight lessons and helps students become certified pilots. Charging documents list Puntasecca as the business’ administrative manager at the time of the alleged crimes.

“She devised a scheme whereby she would collect students’ tuition payments and keep the funds in place of collecting them for the academy,” charging documents state.

Puntasecca created a Venmo account that “appeared to the students to be FLT Academy’s account. The students would then electronically pay their tuition to that Venmo. But in reality, it was Ms. Puntasecca’s own account,” the charges state.

Investigators believe she took nearly $124,000 in tuition through Venmo.

In addition, Puntasecca took an additional $21,000 in cash that students used to pay tuition, according to the charges.

“Furthermore, as law enforcement continued to investigate, they discovered, looking at her payroll (because she had been in charge of payroll) and W2 forms, Ms. Puntasecca had overpaid herself by $76,968.15,” investigators wrote in the court documents.

When confronted, Puntasecca said she no longer had any of the money, “having put it all into her husband’s home and vehicle,” the charges state.

In November, Bountiful Flight LLC filed a lawsuit against Puntasecca accusing her of the same allegations.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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