POTTSVILLE — Newswatch 16 has learned that an investigation is underway into the Clerk of Courts office in Schuylkill County. The District Attorney called it possible fraud and theft.
Steve Lukatch is Schuylkill County’s Clerk of Courts. He’s been in office for 26 years.
Officials said they’ve uncovered that for six months, Lukatch’s car payment was being paid with taxpayer’s money. Lukatch denied wrongdoing and insists he made an honest mistake.
“There was a mistake made in six months where that payment was made, and I’ve already cleared that transaction and I moved that from my personal account into that account because on that account and the personal account nine numbers are the same.” Lukatch said.
In a recent audit by County Controller Christy Joy, he came up with 13 questionable issues concerning how money is spent in the Clerk of Courts office.
“We feel there are significant irregularities so we’ve turned it over to the D.A. and the Board of Commissioners.”
D.A. Christine Holman confirmed that state police and the F.B.I are investigating the Clerk of Courts office in Pottsville. Holman said the audit is important evidence.
“I think those words would describe best what I have read, theft or fraud,” said Holman.
First Assistant D.A. Maria Casey agrees.
“There are certain anomalies, for example having 16 bank accounts, I don’t know of any row office that has 16 bank accounts,” said Casey.
D.A. Holman said she’s considering asking a Judge to remove Lukatch from office.
“The D.A’s office would have to prove certain illegalities, and right now I think we have a good base for that.”
Lukatch said he’s surprised to hear about the D.A’s possible plans.
“That’s entirely up to her, but I think she should get the whole story before she does anything,” said Lukatch.
The audit of the Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts office continues, however there’s no word as to when the state police or F.B.I. investigations will be complete.