Theft Charges Dismissed Against Former Mayor, Authority Workers
SWOYERSVILLE – A district judge dismissed theft charges against three people accused of taking funds from a municipal authority in Luzerne County.
Back in July, state troopers charged Richard Boice, Jason Boice and Denise Sult with making more than $900 worth of personal purchases, using authority funds back in 2008 and 2009.
Court documents said all three work for the General Municipal Authority of Harveys Lake, and the alleged missing money was paid back before criminal charges were filed.
At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, the district judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to send the case to trial.
The former mayor of Harveys Lake said he’s relieved that the charges were dismissed.
“Justice has been served. We didn`t do anything wrong. We had no intent of doing anything wrong,” said Richard Boice. “I`m just glad it’s now over, we can move on.”
Michelle Boice said the charges were politically motiviated because they were filed while her husband was campaigning for re-election.
“It’s easy to believe corruption, I’m a big fighter of corruption,” said Michele Boice. “We live in a county where if says somebody says it, it’s probably true. So, you have to walk around with that cloud over your head. My husband and my son had to do that.”
Authority secretary Denise Sult told Newswatch 16 that the personal purchases were an oversight that were paid back.
“That was an unwritten policy for us, the employees, to be able to purchase items,” said Sult. “It had jarred your memory and so, basically we went and checked the invoices and to see if we paid for those or didn`t we. It wasn`t that our hands were caught in the cookie jar, as the A.D.A. said.”
The former mayor’s attorney said the lengthy investigation and delayed hearings were a waste of time and money.
“It`s a shame that resources were expended in this case, because I do not believe charges were ever warranted, in a county where we have much more serious issues,” said Peter Moses. “We had 20 homicides last year in this County.”
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis told Newswatch 16 by phone that prosecutors cannot pick and choose which alleged crimes should be prosecuted, and that an investigation into money allegedly taken from a sewer authority by employees was not a waste of time.