‘Financial irregularity’ leads court administration to ask DA to investigate

Last updated: February 21. 2014 11:43PM - 5673 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com

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A Luzerne County Court employee has been suspended without pay as part of a pending investigation into the possible theft of county funds, officials said Friday.

Four well-placed sources said the suspended employee is probation services fiscal technician Stacey McGlone, 37, who is paid $37,550. McGlone could not be reached for comment Friday.

At least a dozen county employees said McGlone is the daughter of former longtime court administrator William Sharkey, who was arrested in 2009 as part of the massive federal corruption probe.

Sharkey was sentenced to 10 months in prison for stealing more than $70,000 in illegal gambling proceeds that were supposed to be turned over to the county.

A review of McGlone’s marriage license also confirmed she is Sharkey’s daughter. She was hired by the county court when her father was administrator.

Declining to identify the employee, county Court Administrator Mike Shucosky said court administration initiated a review after internal controls revealed a “financial irregularity.” The results of that review prompted court administration to request further review by the county District Attorney’s Office, he said.

“As a result of that investigation and review, which is ongoing, it was necessary to suspend an individual without pay,” Shucosky said, noting the court acted immediately.

The matter has been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, Shucosky said.

“We will await the results and determination of the investigation before any further actions can be taken,” he said.

County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis confirmed Shucosky’s assessment.

“We have been contacted by the court to look into and investigate possible wrongdoing, which we are doing. Because the investigation is ongoing, we can’t release anymore details,” Salavantis said.

Council Chairman Rick Morelli said Friday evening he is encouraged internal controls are in place to detect irregularities and that officials are not overlooking potential problems.

“I think it’s positive that the judicial branch is taking a proactive approach. That’s good to hear,” Morelli said.

One source said the dollar amount of the financial discrepancy may not be high, but county officials and the public have taken a zero tolerance approach on any potential misuse of public funds.

The District Attorney’s Office filed theft charges against former county Sheriff Lt. Donald Lasoski last fall for removing $375 from the office.

Salavantis said in October some critics speculated her office would not pursue a charge against Lasoski because a county employee had been involved.

“When it comes to someone committing a crime, my office treats everyone the same,” she said in October.

Then-Sheriff Lt. Brian Szumski, who is now sheriff, told investigators he discovered the removal of $375 from a locked office safe during an audit that is part of the office’s internal controls.

In the federal case involving William Sharkey, he was ordered to pay $70,363 in restitution and was released from prison in May 2012. Sharkey’s attorney said his alcohol problem clouded his judgment and contributed to the poor decisions he made.

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