Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Former Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Sentenced on Mail Fraud and Falsification Of Records Charges

On Tuesday, former Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts, Stephen Lukach was sentenced on charges of mail fraud and Falsification Of Records.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has announced that Stephen M. Lukach, Jr., age 70, of Nesquehoning was sentenced on October 20, 2020, to 27 months’ imprisonment by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani for mail fraud and falsification of records.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Lukach served as the Clerk of Courts for Schuylkill County for approximately 27 years. In 2013-2014, county auditors with the Controller’s Office began an in depth examination of the Clerk’s Office and discovered misappropriation of funds by Lukach. 

 An FBI investigation ensued and while the audit was going on, Lukach interfered with the audit by stealing mail that was sent to banks, forged records and sent the fake bank records to the Controller’s Office. Lukach did so in an effort to conceal that he was taking funds from various accounts for his own personal purposes, such as paying a family member’s credit card bill, paying for meals, making car payments, and other personal expenses. The total funds misappropriated was $40,000.

Judge Mariani found that Lukach’s criminal conduct was two-fold. One involved theft and the other involved obstruction of justice. Judge Mariani characterized the theft as an abuse of power and trust given to him by the people of Schuylkill County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The judge noted that his crimes were not a one-off event but pervasive theft over years from many different aspects of the criminal justice system, including stealing from funds due to be paid as restitution to crime victims, fines and cost due to be paid to county and state, and bail funds due to be returned to those properly posted the funds. His obstruction was described by the judge as simply bold. Judge Mariani indicated that the sentence of 27 months in prison was enough to deter yet punish his wrongdoing.

Judge Mariani ordered Lukach to pay $15,927 in restitution and to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 17, 2020.

The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Consiglio prosecuted the case.

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