HANOVER TOWNSHIP — The former head of the Wyoming Valley Sanitary authority surrendered to police for one count of theft of services.
Fred DeSanto was the executive director for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary authority for many years and he was also involved with Pittston Township Little League. In fact, the stadium is named after him.
According to court papers, the charges against DeSanto come from his attempts to help the Little League he apparently loved so much.
DeSanto kept quiet as he entered a magistrate’s office in Hanover Township to be charged with theft of services.
The former executive director of the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority is accused of using sanitary authority employees to work for the local Little League program and at Pittston Township Recreation Association events on company time.
A woman who lives near DeSanto in Pittston Township says there are worse things.
“I think there’s a little bit more in this world that needs to be concentrated on, and stuff like that needs to be overlooked.”
According to court papers, 22 of the 57 employees interviewed accused DeSanto of stealing services over 20 years. Because of the statute of limitations, DeSanto could only be charged with what happened between 2004 and 2012.
He’s also accused of using the sanitary authority mail machine to send mail related to the Pittston Township Little League.
Between materials and employee salaries and benefits, authorities estimate DeSanto stole more than $30,000 dollars of services.
DeSanto retired in 2012 from his position as executive director at the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority in Hanover Township. That retirement came about the same time the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office started investigating him.
Desanto’s lawyer had no comment for Newswatch 16.
Neighbors say DeSanto’s involvement in the community trumps the charge and that the Little League complex in Pittston Township that bears his name should stay that way.
“I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but he’s doing a good thing for the kids, I guess. Why would I care?” asked Tom Ohop of Hughestown.
“I would think it would still stay the same. I don’t think that what he’s done or what he’s being accused of doing is such a big thing.
Fred DeSanto is out on bail.
The Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority said in a statement that it has frozen DeSanto’s benefits. The money being held will be applied to any restitution due to the sanitary authority.