Joshua Lamancusa

District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa

The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township.

“We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Joshua Lamancusa said Friday regarding a probe into nearly a half-million dollars in alleged unauthorized payments.

No arrests have been made.

Investigators allege township secretary-treasurer Brian Tanner wrote 224 unauthorized checks — totaling $453,516.80 — to himself and auditor Deno DeLorenzo in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Lamancusa also would not comment on how long the investigation could take.

He had been out of town earlier this week and previous attempts to reach him had been unsuccessful.

An investigator from the district attorney’s office executed a search warrant late last week at the Shenango Township municipal building.

The office had received a report from the state auditor general’s staff that it had found questionable payments to Tanner and DeLorenzo, who has an accounting firm on West State Street.

The state auditors had been reviewing the township’s pension fund for 2013 when they made the discovery, according to information in the search warrant application.

The checks in question had been stamped with then-supervisor chairman Larry Herman’s signature and written from the township’s general fund, according to court papers.

In addition to boxes filled with financial documents, the district attorney’s investigators also seized several computers while serving the search warrant, court papers show.

At a special meeting Thursday night, the township supervisors fired Tanner, who had been on administrative leave since Monday morning.

They also terminated their arrangement with DeLorenzo.

More than 100 township residents attended the public session.

Tanner, who was not at Thursday’s meeting, had been contacted earlier that day but declined to discuss the situation.

He deferred comment to his attorney, David Acker.

However, Acker said Thursday he had not yet seen the audit report, so “it’s a little early to say anything.”

“I’m sure every check was written for a good reason,” Acker said, noting that until he is able to review the paperwork or audit, “I really can’t comment.”

Attempts to contact DeLorenzo and his attorney were unsuccessful.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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