WILKES-BARRE — Former Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Director Fred DeSanto has been sentenced to 12 months house arrest for having authority employees do work for a Little League organization.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough also sentenced DeSanto to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service.
The house arrest was part of a 48-month sentence of placement in the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program.
DeSanto, 64, of Pittston, pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of diversion of services.
With that plea, DeSanto admitted he used WVSA staff to do work for the District 16 Little League, for which he was a district director, while they were on the clock for the authority.
Prior to sentencing, DeSanto’s attorney, Frank Nocito, told Vough that DeSanto has made full restitution to the authority, and noted that his client has been involved in numerous community activities and volunteer activities through his entire adult life, “donating thousands of hours of his time.”
Nocito noted that DeSanto founded the Pittston Township Little League back in 1975 and served as president for 20 years before he was named district administrator.
Nocito asked Vough to consider that DeSanto’s act benefited the Little League rather than DeSanto himself.
But Vough disagreed.
“It’s important for you to know the diversion of services was for your benefit,” Vough told DeSanto, also noting that the work was supported by authority ratepayers.
Investigators have said that the crime cost the authority more than $30,000.
“So putting you in jail and having the taxpayers support you further will not benefit anyone,” Vough said, explaining his reasoning behind the sentence, which would allow DeSanto to perform community service while on house arrest.
And Vough wasn’t satisfied with the house arrest, fine and community service, given the gravity of the crime.
“What I find disturbing,” Vough told DeSanto, “is that your name is on the Pittston Township Little League field.”
While Vough said he couldn’t order the league to remove DeSanto’s name from the field, he did order DeSanto to write a letter to league authorities within five days asking that his name be removed from the field, which is called Fred DeSanto Stadium.
When DeSanto was asked for his reaction to the sentence when he stepped outside of the courtroom, Nocito said his client would have nothing to say.
Investigating Det. Lt. Gary Capitano referred comment to District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, who was not immediately available for comment.
Read a complete story in The Times Leader on Saturday.