Last updated: October 28. 2013 11:34PM - 2895 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com



Sipko
Sipko
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WILKES-BARRE — Breaking the law will cost Stanley Sipko the privilege of enforcing it.


The former West Wyoming police chief on Monday agreed to a deal under which he must pay nearly $13,000 in restitution to the borough for receiving double paychecks from March 2006 to October 2009 and failing to return the money.


And he will never work as a police officer again.


Sipko, 44, was scheduled to be tried together with another former chief, David Gashi, 69, who is accused of two counts of theft for allegedly receiving $13,699 in duplicate pay, which eventually inflated his pension.


But under the deal approved by Judge Michael T. Vough, Sipko, who was facing a single theft count, agreed to pay back the $12,991 he owes the borough within one year. Vough also sentenced Sipko to serve one year in the county’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Program, a special probationary sentence for first-time non-violent offenders.


During the investigation, Sipko told state police he repaid the late West Wyoming Borough Manager Thomas Loftus using cash, but never received a receipt.


Loftus was suspended and then terminated by council in November 2009 following concerns about irregularities in the borough’s finances. He died on Dec. 11, 2009.


State police Cpl. Gerald Williams said last year that he began investigating the borough’s garbage and liquid fuels account with Sipko in late October 2009, but the investigation was closed after Loftus died.


The following month, borough Solicitor Linell Lukesh contacted Williams about financial discrepancies in payroll accounts, the trooper said. After receiving payroll reports, Williams said he confronted Gashi and Sipko about receiving double paychecks.


During a November hearing, Williams and state Deputy Auditor General Nate Lipton testified that they found no large withdrawals from Sipko’s personal bank and Christmas club accounts to suggest he repaid the borough the cash advances.


“We saw money going into Stanley Sipko’s account but no money coming out,” Williams said during that three-hour hearing.


Gashi told investigators that the extra paychecks were for unused vacation time, despite having received a $19,000 buyout from the borough before retiring in December 2008.


A pretrial conference in Gashi’s case is set for 1 p.m. Dec. 6.


Sipko agreed to forfeit his state-issued police certification, and will be subject to a lifetime ban on working as a police officer.


He also must perform 50 hours of community service, which may include including picking up roadside garbage, according to court documents.


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