HANOVER TWP. — Former Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority executive director Fred DeSanto is expected to surrender today on a charge he used authority employees to do work at his Pittston Township home.
Luzerne County detectives Thursday filed a felony charge of diversion of services against DeSanto, 63, with District Judge Joseph Halesey in Hanover Township, where the sanitary authority central office is located.
DeSanto allegedly had employees work on his home and perform tasks for the District 16 Little League. DeSanto has been involved with District 16 for decades, most recently as district director.
DeSanto served as executive director of WVSA since 1998 until he abruptly retired on Aug. 27, 2012, shortly before he was scheduled to be interviewed by the authority’s board regarding the allegations. He previously served in other capacities in the authority’s administration for 18 years.
DeSanto did not return a message for comment on Thursday.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis in September 2012 assigned a detective to investigate allegations of wrongdoing made against DeSanto by authority employees.
A news release issued by WVSA Executive Director James T. Tomaine stated the charges “stem from an internal investigation conducted by the WVSA, which reported its findings to law enforcement authorities, who then conducted a comprehensive criminal investigation.”
After DeSanto retired, WVSA froze his accrued benefits they say they were legally permitted to withhold.
“These monies are being held and will be applied towards any restitution which is due to the WVSA. If there is a shortfall in restitution, the WVSA will pursue recouping the balance of restitution, if any, through the recently filed criminal case,” the release states.
WVSA retained DeHey McAndrew, an independent human resources company based in Scranton, to identify corrective measures to prevent similar abuse.
“The abuses that have been reported obviously cannot be tolerated in any segment of business but this is especially the case where the public trust is involved,” the release states.
The sanitary authority’s service area includes 35 municipalities in Luzerne County from Newport Township to the Pittston area.