Posted on Thu, May. 30, 2002
Adelphia files $60,000 civil suit claiming fraud by customer
GREENSBURG, Pa. - Embattled cable provider Adelphia Communications Corp. has filed a $60,000 civil suit against a woman it accuses of stealing $200 in cable television services.
"It is an effort to let the public know they are not going to tolerate being deceived," Adelphia attorney Matthew Mangino said.
Tricia H. Witherspoon, of Derry, said she was unaware of the lawsuit against her Wednesday and declined comment.
Coudersport-based Adelphia faces a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation as well as grand jury investigations in Pennsylvania and New York into accounting practices by the company.
Adelphia acknowledged that the Rigas family, which founded the company, used company cash and assets for private ventures, often without seeking approval from the company board of directors or informing stockholders.
Adelphia also is seeking an unspecified amount in punitive damages from Witherspoon.
Mangino, who also serves as the part-time district attorney in Lawrence County, conceded the lawsuit against Witherspoon is unusual.
"This is the way Adelphia proceeded. She intentionally defrauded Adelphia, and Adelphia is not going to allow it to continue," Mangino said.
Court documents filed in Westmoreland County allege Witherspoon used the name and Social Security number of her 10-year-old daughter to sign up for cable service at two addresses, one in Derry and another other in Homer City, Indiana County, the Greensburg Tribune-Review reported.
Witherspoon owes an estimated $200 for service between Oct. 4, 2001, and Jan. 25, Mangino said.