Assistant accused of taking money
LAFAYETTE HILL The ex-head of a banking company whose failure cost customers and investors tens of millions of dollars has accused his former executive assistant of withdrawing cash and buying herself airline tickets, hotel stays and other items totaling $6,843 with his credit card.
Peggy Castaneda, of Philadelphia, was arraigned Wednesday in front of District Judge Deborah Lukens on one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, and one count of receiving stolen property. Castaneda, 41, waived her preliminary hearing, and the case was transferred to Common Pleas Court.
Dennis Alter, the former CEO of credit-card giant Advanta, called Whitemarsh Township police on Sept. 17 to say that Castaneda, who worked for him from June 28, 2012 to Aug. 2, 2013, had misused a Visa credit card he gave her "for the sole purpose of purchasing items for himself and his family when necessary."
After Castaneda quit working for him last August, Alter told police, he discovered 22 "unauthorized purchases." Items she allegedly bought include airline tickets, stays in hotels and concert tickets. She also made numerous, unauthorized cash withdrawals at ATMs, according to the police affidavit of probable cause.
The affidavit says Castaneda has paid back $700.
Advanta filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2009. Alter enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, including living on a 70-acre estate in Whitemarsh Township.
- Carolyn Davis