SCRANTON -- The former superintendent in the Mid Valley School District in Lackawanna County was formally charged with theft and forgery.
Court papers were released Wednesday, two days after the state attorney general's office filed the charges against Jim Tallarico.
Back in February, Tallarico of Dunmore resigned abruptly from his post as Mid Valley superintendent and there has been a lot of speculation since then in the district that encompasses Throop, Olyphant, and Dickson City.
Wednesday we learned the details of the accusations. Prosecutors said he put a lot effort into stealing district money and tried to cover it up by moving around funds and intimidating employees.
Tallarico answered to criminal charges filed by the state attorney general's office. He was arraigned at the courthouse in Scranton Wednesday on 22 separate counts, charges including theft, forgery, and official oppression.
"He left very abruptly so I assumed something was wrong. I didn't know if it was personal reasons or if there was something going on within the school district. So I wasn't shocked to hear the news," said Colleen Tarantino of Olyphant.
Tarantino was stocking up the concession stand at Condella Park in Olyphant getting ready for fall sports.
Court paperwork accuses Tallarico of taking money from the school's athletic and varsity funds, saying he would purchase things for sports teams but never did. He's also accused of stealing cash that students raised with a dress down day.
"That money is geared toward maybe a family who is having some kind of a hardship or it's geared toward just giving it to a charitable cause," said Mid Valley School Board President Gerald Luchansky.
Luchansky told Newswatch 16 Tallarico was ultimately caught when business office employees noticed money being moved from one account to another. Tallarico resigned about two weeks after that discovery.
"As a district we're continually maximizing every dollar that we have, we're stretching every dollar that we have. It was very unfair what he had done," Luchansky added.
According to court papers, Tallarico used a district credit card for personal use several times. Among the most shocking allegations, Tallarico told the district he was going to an autism conference in New Jersey but actually used district money to take his family to a Penn State football game.
Mid Valley district officials told Newswatch 16 they might consider changing the rules for how administrators use credit cards. Prosecutors said Tallarico took almost $12,000 from the district. Some of it has been paid back.
In total, Mid Valley is out about $7,500.
Tallarico was arraigned on those charges Wednesday morning and released on bail.