Founder of West Deer horse rescue group pleads guilty in federal court
April 13, 2017 5:51 PM
Pam Vivirito, of Equine Angels Rescue in West Deer, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to mail fraud and a tax offense connected with the nonprofit.
By Torsten Ove / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The founder of a horse rescue operation pleaded guilty Thursday to mail fraud and a tax offense in connection with her nonprofit.
Pam Vivirito, who runs the Equine Angels Rescue in West Deer, entered the pleas before U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, who set sentencing for July 20.
Prosecutors said Ms. Vivirito, 46, solicited contributions to rehabilitate horses and used the money for her personal expenses. She also filed a false tax exempt organization form with the IRS in which she said her compensation was about $46,000 when it was really about $93,000.
Ms. Vivirito had also been charged with extorting property from a businessman with whom she was having an affair by threatening to reveal the relationship to his wife. The man, unidentified in court papers, gave her property to keep the affair secret, according to the FBI, but no details have been revealed.
Prosecutors indicated they will move to dismiss that charge at sentencing as part of her plea deal.