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Carbon to stop ex-clerk’s pension

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Published August 16. 2019 02:37PM

A retired Carbon County clerk of courts who pleaded guilty Monday to stealing bail money and fingerprint/booking fees has now lost his pension.

Carbon commissioners on Thursday unanimously voted to terminate all payments to William McGinley from the Carbon County pension plan pursuant to the public employee pension forfeiture act.

Commissioners also hope to recoup pension payments already made to McGinley, which totaled $2,472.61 per month, and voted to authorize officers and agents of the county to use all available remedies to do so.

“The trigger for all of this was the guilty plea on Monday,” Carbon solicitor Daniel Miscavige said of the actions.

Commissioners said it was important for them to take action prior to processing pension payments for August.

McGinley, 61, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded guilty to theft by failure to make required deposition of funds, a felony; tampering with evidence and obstruction of administration of the law.

He will be sentenced on those charges on Nov. 15, after a presentence investigation is conducted.

The charges carry a minimum sentence of 3 to 12 months.

McGinley was accused of stealing $44,000 from his office. He was charged by the Attorney General’s office following an audit of accounts of the office while he was in charge. He has repaid the money and is being charged an additional $7,500 to cover the county’s cost for the insurance company to conduct an audit.

Carbon on Thursday also tabbed the Harrisburg law firm of McNees Wallace and Nurick LLC to provide legal services relative to McGinley’s pension forfeiture. The law firm will be paid an hourly rate ranging from $175 to $320 for paralegals and specialists, and from $225 to $600 for attorneys.

“Dan reached out to the law firm to help guide us through this process,” said Bob Crampsie, Carbon controller. “This is really unchartered waters for us. We never went down this road, but we want to protect the interest of our retirement fund. That is why we wanted to get a firm that specializes in this.”

According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, there were 169 instances between September 2013 and March 2018 when fingerprint/booking fees were collected at the Carbon County Correctional Facility and turned over to the county Clerk of Courts office, but the money was never deposited in the bank or noted in the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts computer system.

There were also 69 cases, from August 2014 to April 2018, where bail was posted in cash and turned over to the county Clerk of Courts office, but was never deposited or accounted for in the AOPC system.

McGinley met with representatives from the Attorney General’s office on Dec. 3 and admitted he took money from the office during the time he was elected. He told agents he used the money to gamble on poker machines.

McGinley retired after 28 years in the position on May 1, 2018, leaving the office in what county officials dubbed “a mess.”

He was re-elected without opposition in November 2017 and was only four months into his new term at the time.

Earlier in Thursday’s meeting, commissioners heard from Jim Thorpe resident Mark Reitz, who questioned why McGinley was still allowed to work for a vendor selling bakery items in the county-owned Josiah White Park.

“That really makes me mad,” Reitz said. “If you stole from Walmart, they wouldn’t let you back in the store.”

Commissioners said their agreement was with the vendor, who then hired McGinley.

“We’re all equally frustrated that he flaunts himself,” Wayne Nothstein, commissioner chairman said. “We hope that in the very near future he won’t have that ability, let’s put it that way.”

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