Three Harveys Lake sewer authority employees repaid money after making personal purchases

Last updated: January 21. 2014 11:48PM - 4404 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com

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SWOYERSVILLE — There was no written policy prohibiting employees with the Harveys Lake General Municipal Authority from using its funds for personal use.

The only requirement was the authority had to be reimbursed.

That fact and other information solicited by three defense lawyers during a preliminary hearing Tuesday led District Judge David Barilla to dismiss theft-related charges against the authority’s executive director, Richard Boice; his son, Jason Boice, a foreman; and authority secretary Denise Sult.

State police at Wyoming charged Richard Boice, a former Harveys Lake mayor; Jason Boice and Sult in July 2013 with using the authority’s funds for personal purchases.

According to the criminal complaints and testimony:

• Richard Boice, 67, made $115 worth in purchases in April 2008 — $106 for a motorcycle battery and $9.58 for motorcycle oil from Dallas Auto Parts.

• Jason Boice, 38, purchased a $177 water pump from Dallas Auto Parts for his 1993 Dodge truck in October 2007.

• Sult, 61, made $31.74 worth of purchases — $6.77 for a Honda Civic headlamp from Dallas Auto Parts in March 2008 and $24.97 for a three-speed tower fan from Dallas Centre Hardware in August 2008.

State police Cpl. Christopher King testified the trio reimbursed the authority only after allegations were raised by Charles Musial, then a borough council member, during a September 2009 meeting.

Jason Boice’s attorney, Ferris Webby, said Musial filed a complaint with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office about a month after he was fired from the municipal authority as a part-time sewer inspector.

King said the District Attorney’s Office referred the case to state police. He said he learned during the investigation that it was common for municipal authority employees to use authority’s funds for personal purchases, noting employees had to reimburse the authority.

Webby, Richard Boice’s lawyer Peter John Moses and Sult’s lawyer, Matthew P. Kelly, noted their clients reimbursed the authority several months before criminal charges were filed. In Richard Boice’s case, he reimbursed the authority 13 months before he was charged.

“It was the lag time in reimbursements,” King said behind the filing of criminal charges.

It was noted during the hearing that Richard Boice, Jason Boice and Sult did not pay sales taxes on the items they purchased because the purchases were made from authority funds.

Barilla dismissed two counts of theft and a single count of receiving stolen property against Richard Boice, dismissed charges of theft and receiving stolen property against Jason Boice and dismissed two counts each of theft and receiving stolen property against Sult.

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