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Probe Widens into Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Office

Officials at the Schuylkill County Courthouse fear a problem with missing money could be much worse than first feared.

Pottsville, Schuylkill County -- Just days before Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Stephen Lukach is supposed to resign from office comes an alarming disclosure. With thousands of dollars in financial irregularities under Lukach's watch, Schuylkill County District Attorney Christine Holman made a bombshell revelation. "There's other irregularities with the bail account and the bail account is a lot of dollars."

The Schuylkill County bail account would easily consist of tens of thousands of dollars. The district attorney would not elaborate any further citing the nature of the ongoing investigation. Lukach has held office for 27 years. It had been quite some time before his spending practices were analyzed. "We had not audited the Clerk of Courts office since 2004 so I made sure this was a priority for my term," said Schuylkill County Controller Christy Joy. He took office in 2013 and noted that among the irregularities he uncovered was the number of bank accounts Lukach was using for the Clerk of Courts office. Lukach had many more than the norm of three. "We are aware of at least 16."

Mr. Joy says the audit also uncovered that Lukach was using county funds to make personal purchases and monthly car payments. Joy turned over his findings to the district attorney. The FBI launched its investigation last September but with Lukach not yet charged with any criminal wrongdoing, he has access to the Clerk of Courts office until he resigns or is removed. "We don't want him coming in or having anyone else coming in and destroying evidence that would be certainly helpful in figuring out what has been going on for some time," said Ms. Holman who added that Lukach had not yet submitted his letter of resignation as of Monday afternoon. She also said that the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Office had yet to inform her if Lukach had used his office since Friday when his planned resignation was announced.

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