Pa. Man Accused of Stealing $400,000 from Universal Underwriter’s

September 22, 2005

A man in McKees Rocks, Pa., was indicted by a federal grand jury this week on charges of embezzling $400,000 from an insurance company and using the money to buy sports cards, sports memorabilia and vehicles.

Richard Slonchka, 55, a former claims specialist for Universal Underwriter’s Insurance Co. in Pittsburgh, is accused of having embezzled the money between April of 1997 and April of 2002, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Authorities alleged that he had 139 checks written, purportedly for workers’ compensation claims that he had approved, but the checks instead went to six people and companies to purchase various goods for himself.

Slonchka declined comment Tuesday. Keith Owens, a spokesman for Zurich Financial of Schaumburg, Ill., Universal’s parent company, confirmed that Slonchka had worked for Universal, but said he could not comment further.

If convicted, Slonchka faces a maximum of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both, authorities said.

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