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April 9, 2013

Police say official stole $100G from Gallitzin Township

GALLITZIN — Gallitzin Township’s longtime secretary-treasurer is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the municipality.

A criminal complaint has been filed against Leonard S. Cuomo, 75, of the 200 block of Amsbry Road, in the court of District Judge Charity Nileski.

Cuomo is charged with failure to make the required disposition of funds received, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

In an affidavit of probable cause, Trooper Mark Galli of the state police organized crime task force, alleges the defendant misappropriated about $114,835 from the township.

Cuomo also is accused of issuing unauthorized checks totaling $3,773 to his son, Christopher S. Cuomo, 41, of Amsbry Road, who is charged with committing theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Leonard Cuomo allegedly wrote unauthorized checks to himself for office supplies and other expenses, “none of which the defendant supported by receipts or other documentation to the (township),” Galli’s affidavit states.

An investigation was started when township Supervisor Joseph Benzie suspected the secretary-treasurer was misappropriating funds.

In April 2012, the township hired Kotzan CPA & Associates P.C. to conduct a fraud investigation by examining disbursement journals, invoices, payroll reports and other documents for 2004 through 2011, excluding 2005 when records were not available.

Payroll checks allegedly were written to Christopher Cuomo even though no documentation was found to support a claim that he was employed by the township.

The township’s three supervisors either did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday or declined to speak on the record.

No attorney is listed  for Leonard Cuomo, according to Nileski’s office. Christopher Cuomo’s lawyer, Paul Joseph Eckenrode, could not be contacted immediately for a comment. Calls made to Leonard Cuomo’s phone number listed in the Cambria County directory of public officials were not answered.

Preliminary hearings are set for April 25.

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