Cefaly Sentenced in Federal Court

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Judith Cefaly of Rice Township, Luzerne County was sentenced on Wednesday to 24 months in federal prison for withholding and stealing more than $646,000 from the IRS. 

Cefaly worked at Shakti Day Spa in Kingston as the General Manager and treasury and was responsible for submitting federal, state, local taxes and payments for healthcare benefits from employees’ paychecks. She failed to do so, and officials say she pocketed nearly $1 million from 2011 to 2016.

On top of that, Cefaly stole more than $100,000 from her employer. She used that money on vacation trips, mortgage payments, house renovations and more.

In her pre-sentencing remarks, she said “I’m sorry to you, the country and society. I’m sorry for stealing from Shakti Incorporated. I immensely loved my job and the Shakti family.”

“I think it is the minimum sentence that they could give her under the law and she got the minimum sentence. She’s going to get two years in prison,” salon owner Lonny McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin read a victim statement in court expressing how he says his business has suffered for years and will continue to do so. Outside of court, McLaughlin adds he’s been turning the business around.

“We’re making ends meet. We’re getting by. We would like to get this all behind us but the business is growing and people are back to work and our customers have been extraordinarily supportive,” McLaughlin said.

Cefaly’s federal sentence will run concurrent to her Luzerne County imprisonment which is a one year sentence for stealing and unlawfully taking, ending in April 2020. From there she will be moved to a federal prison to finish out the federal sentence which ends September 11, 2021. 

Cefaly must pay restitution to the IRS for $646,620.

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