HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced first-degree felony charges Tuesday against the former fleet manager for the Scranton School District in connection with an alleged scheme that involved overbilling the district for work performed, billing for work done on the personal cars of district employees, and related offenses.
The charges against the former district official are the result of a statewide grand jury investigation.
Daniel Sansky, 67, of Cortez Road, Jefferson Township, was charged for crimes committed while he was fleet manager of the Scranton School District — between Aug. 22, 2005, and Aug. 13, 2017. The investigation revealed Sansky, through his auto body shop, Danny’s Auto Service, overbilled and double-billed for work performed on district vehicles, a press release states.
Sansky was charged with corrupt organizations, dealing in unlawful proceeds, criminal conspiracy and other felony offenses.
“This individual took advantage of the trust placed in him as a district official and allegedly defrauded the Scranton School District of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Shapiro said. “To the people of Scranton who have been calling out for an investigation, and for more openness, transparency and honesty in their government — we heard you. Let me be very clear — this investigation is live, active and ongoing, and no one is above the law.”
Working jointly with the Pennsylvania State Police, investigators learned Sansky conspired with an unnamed district employee to submit invoices that were never required to be reviewed or approved by the Scranton School District Chief Operations Officer. Invoices from 2009 through 2017 indicate the district was billed for at least $785,195 for work performed by Sansky. Prior to 2014, Sansky rarely provided itemized invoices. The district was not able to locate records for invoices before Dec. 27, 2008.
Sansky also billed the district for work performed on the personal vehicles of at least a dozen district employees or their family members. A review of invoices showed 38 separate occasions when Sansky performed maintenance on the personal vehicles of the unnamed co-conspirator or one of his family members, authorities say.
Records also indicate Sansky sold four vehicles belonging to the school district without proper authorization. It is unclear if the district received any compensation for the sales. Another vehicle belonging to the district was found in a secured rear lot at his auto-body shop during the execution of a search warrant in May. The vehicle, which was registered to the district, was not included on the list of 28 fleet vehicles maintained by the current fleet manager.
Sansky routinely overbilled or double-billed for work, once claiming Danny’s Auto Service changed 114 tires on one garbage truck over a 40-month period, investigators say. In one of these instances, Sansky billed the district for new tires on that truck on May 15, 2017, and again May 18, 2017.
During the execution of a search warrant at the auto-body shop owned by Sansky, no receipts were found for the purchase of these tires. Investigators believe that Sansky over-billed the district $53,215 for just these 114 tires.
Sansky and wife Mary Ann — who own Danny’s Auto Service on West Elm Street in Scranton — received health benefits through Scranton School District until May 1, 2017, even though Sansky was not an employee of the district in his role as fleet manager. Since the district was self-insured, it could legally offer insurance to sub-contractors.
Sansky was taken into custody Tuesday by members of the Pennsylvania State Police and agents from the Office of Attorney General. The case will be prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Erik Olsen.
DePasquale cites audit
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale launched an audit of the Scranton School District in 2016 that he said uncovered potential criminal acts and misuse of public funds. He said he turned over the audit findings to authorities, sparking an investigation that led to Tuesday’s charges.
“It’s clear the corruption we discovered affected student education by taking at least $1 million in taxpayer funds out of the classroom and causing teacher furloughs,” DePasquale said. “Bluntly stated, this district is in one hell of a financial mess. When I released my audit and said the school officials needed to get their heads out of their a——, some board members didn’t like my ‘tone.’ For the sake of the students, let’s hope my tone is not their biggest concern today.”
DePasquale said one particular director, Bob Lesh, even said the audit “could only be used as toilet paper.” DePasquale said, “I’d love to know what he thinks of it now.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.