Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief Charged With Theft By Feds

By Andy Mehalshick

Published 08/28 2014 06:27PM

Updated 08/28 2014 08:25PM

Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Yuknavich is expected to plead guilty to the theft of $45,000 from the fire department he has led for two decades. The United States Attorney's Office announced the plea agreement on Thursday. As part of the agreement Yuknavich must resign as Fire Chief and pay restitution. Federal prosecutors say Yuknavich diverted fire department fund for personal use. The I-Team has been following the case for the past four years as State investigators filed two separate sets of theft charges against Yuknavich. The Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis says she will withdraw the State charges as a result of the Federal Plea Agreement. The agreement comes two months after firefighters testified before a Federal Grand Jury in Scranton. In June Yuknavich told this reporter he was innocent and it was all a mix up. He also said that he wanted to get this over with and was looking forward to trial. Yuknavich faces 10 years in prison he will appear in Federal Court in several weeks. He remains a free man. Township resident Joe Naperkowski has been pushing for an investigation of the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Department. He said, "If this is valid then I agree with it. I think he has been getting away with stuff for way too long." Efforts by Eyewitness News to contact Yuknavich have been unsuccessful as of this writing.

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