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July 15, 2014

Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

NEW CASTLE — The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant.

A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

In addition, the warrant authorizes seizure of “invoices, billing records, time records in reference to any non-salaried work performed or alleged to have been performed” by Tanner on behalf of the township from 2006 to the present.

The warrant signed Friday evening also authorized officials to search for and seize “any and all records pertaining to Deno DeLorenzo and payments he had received from Tanner.”

The warrant described Tanner’s two-story home and noted it has an in-ground swimming pool.

The district attorney’s office is investigating the possible theft of nearly a half-million dollars from township funds.

Court documents allege that between 2011 and 2013, Tanner wrote himself 133 checks totaling $231,678.68 from the sewer department’s general fund and deposited them in personal bank accounts in three different banks.

In addition, the documents allege Tanner wrote 91 checks totaling $221,838.12 — also from the sewer account — to township auditor Deno DeLorenzo. Investigators claim DeLorenzo deposited the money into personal accounts in three or four different banks.

The new search warrant was requested after investigators met with the Shenango Township supervisors.

The document states the elected officials — who have been in office between one and a half and 10 and a half years — had no knowledge that Tanner had been paying himself more than his $57,257 annual salary.

Investigators requested a warrant for Tanner’s home computers because the supervisors have permitted him to work from his home office eight hours a week.

Based on what investigators allege to have uncovered for the three-year period from January 2011 through December 2013, they are now looking at township records going back to the beginning of 2006.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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