LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) A guilty plea Tuesday in a public corruption investigation the I-Team first put a spotlight on a year ago.
The former Newport Township business manager admits he stole taxpayers money– a lot of money. The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has our story.
Richard Zika admits he stole $159,000 dollars in taxpayers money..
Zika had nothing to say to our camera.
But the 72 year old did talk inside a Luzerne County courtroom.
He told the judge that he stole cash that was supposed to be placed into the the township’s recycling and trash accounts and deposited it into his personal bank accounts..
The crimes took place between 2008 and April of 2016.
An internal audit found that the numbers in the township accounts just did not add up.
Peter Wanchisen took over as the township manager after Zika resigned..
“I’ve been on board since June of last year and I will tell you there are now double triple protections that guard against what took place the last several years.”
Taxpayers we spoke with are angry that these types of crimes keep continuing. People trusted to be the watchdog of the public coffers violate that trust– not just in Newport Township across our region.
Zika faces 10 to 20 years in prison.. he will be sentenced on June 5th