PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A former Pine-Richland business teacher has pleaded guilty to charges of forgery and theft. Now, he’s facing the consequences.
Edward Maritz stole union dues, using the money to feed a gambling habit. Immediately following his plea, he was sentenced.
Maritz appeared Thursday morning in Allegheny County Court. He pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and one count each of theft by deception and misapplication of funds.
From the summer of 2010 through fall of last year, Maritz was treasurer of the Pine-Richland Education Association. He was responsible for collecting dues, but instead of sending payments to the association, Maritz kept the money, issuing more than 160 checks to himself for nearly $180,000. The bank statements, he told police, were kept in his classroom.
When asked about the money last winter, Maritz told investigators he had a gambling addiction. He spent some of the money at Rivers Casino, but the majority, he said, was used to buy scratch-off lottery tickets.
“His own conscious caught up to him, and as a result, he decided enough was enough,” defense attorney Christopher Thomas said at Maritz’s arraignment in February. “Let’s do the right thing. Let’s inform those who were wronged.”
Thursday, the District Attorney’s office withdrew one count of tampering and one count of receiving stolen property. Following the plea, Maritz was sentenced to one year of house arrest with work release, followed by six years probation.
He must also pay restitution to the insurance company that covered the losses for the teachers’ union. His attorney said Maritz is getting help.
“Actively enrolled in counseling and treatment,” Thomas said. “He is doing well in that regard. At this point, he just wants to move forward and continue to take responsibility for his actions.”