PayPal Charge Dropped At Roe Hearing
LACKAWAXEN — Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin briefed supervisors about the Shawn Roe case.
Tonkin spoke briefly about the case at last week’s regular Lackawaxen meeting held at the township building on Urban Road.
The case referred to the Pennsylvania State Police/Blooming Grove Barracks filing in December of a complaint at Pike County District Justice Alan Cooper’s court in Shohola Township.
That complaint included seven felony charges related to alleged embezzlement schemes perpetrated by Shawn Roe, the former Lackawaxen Township Secretary-Treasurer. Police accused her of taking, without legal authorization, $222,242 over a 10-year span, during which she controlled township finances.
At a recent Preliminary Hearing, held at District Justice Alan Cooper’s court, Cooper bound over six of the seven felony charges to Pike County Court of Common Pleas for arraignment, according to Tonkin, who is Pike County’s chief prosecutor.
Lackawaxen Supervisor Chairman Bob Cocchi said in an interview after the meeting that at the Preliminary Hearing, Roe’s attorney Michael Weinstein objected to one of the felony charges (Criminal Use of Communication Facility, 3rd Degree) as unsubstantiated and therefore subject to removal from the list of felony complaints.
This felony charge is applicable to a person who uses a communication facility [such as a laptop computer capable of logging on to the Internet] to commit a crime. The charge stated the following: “The defendant did utilize employer (Lackawaxen Township) provided equipment including a desktop and laptop computer for personal use when she made PayPal transactions using monetary funds from the Lackawaxen Township General Tax Fund totaling $93,629.18, knowing that those transactions were not authorized by supervisors.”
Weinstein said in an interview on Monday that he presented the argument that the township auditor and state police did not show full documentary evidence directly linking a PayPal account and money trail to Roe’s account.
Weinstein said that whether Cooper dismissed the one charge due to Weinstein’s presentation is not conclusive because Cooper did not explain why he dismissed the charge.
Meanwhile, the DA’s office now has the option to include any charges related to the original state police complaint in the DA’s (Prosecutor’s Information) filing to the Court of Common Pleas.
And, Cocchi, a retired New York City Police Department Detective, said that though Cooper bound over the six charges to the Pike County Court of Common Pleas, it is Cocchi’s understanding that State Police are continuing their investigation regarding PayPal transactions. Therefore, state police could still file an amended complaint, if additional information germane to the case arises... for complete story, get this week's issue.
Twp. Weighs Possible Tax Break For Commercial Developers
BUSHKILL — Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Executive Director Mike Sullivan and Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg asked Lehman Township supervisors to adopt an ordinance supporting the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA).
LERTA is Pennsylvania-based enabling legislation authorizing local taxing entities, such as school districts, counties, and municipal governments, to offer tax incentives defined under LERTA to companies seeking to expand or build new facilities.
Sullivan and Osterberg lobbied for LERTA at a regular Lehman Township meeting last week.
Lehman Supervisor John Sivick announced that supervisors would address the recommendations and that they would research and discuss the feasibility of the LERTA option before voting on it.
In the past year, Sullivan began making the rounds of all Pike municipalities and school districts to get them to pass ordinances authorizing LERTA. Osterberg accompanied Sullivan on some of the visits.
Sullivan said that LERTA offers companies an average of 55 percent in tax breaks for five years on the improved portion of property under development.
According to Sullivan, all municipalities, the county, and school districts stand to gain tax revenue after the five-year LERTA period, during which none of the taxing entities would lose any revenue on the land and unimproved portion of the property.
He said, “That is a win-win situation for everyone.” Sullivan noted that so far, Shohola, Lackawaxen, Dingman, and Delaware townships, Pike County Commissioners, Delaware Valley School District, and Wallenpaupack Area School District have each adopted ordinances supporting LERTA in one form or another. He is next going to East Stroudsburg Area School District to seek their support... for complete story, get this week's issue.