Pisarcik pleads no contest, receives two years probation

Staff Writer

BROOKVILLE — Former Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pisarcik pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to one count of forgery at a sentencing hearing at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Brookville on Thursday. Senior Judge Richard Masson, from Elk and Cameron counties, presided over the sentencing. Nolo contendere is a plea in a criminal prosecution that, without admitting guilt, subjects the defendant to conviction but does not preclude denying the truth of the charges in a collateral proceeding.

Masson explained that Pisarcik and his attorney, Christopher Mohney, of DuBois, negotiated a plea agreement with the Attorney General’s office on Sept. 16, to forgery — a misdemeanor one — while the original charge of theft by deception — a felony three — was nolle prossed (not pursued). Evan Lowry, of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, agreed they had negotiated.

Masson said that having entered a nolo contendere plea agreement, the imposition of sentence was thereby suspended, and the defendant was placed on probation for a period of 24 months, under the supervision of the Jefferson County Adult Probation Department, on the following terms and conditions: pay the cost of prosecution; pay a fine in the amount of $500; pay a monthly supervision fee in the amount of $40; and make restitution to the victim, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, in the amount of $5,978.44. It was noted that the restitution has already been paid back.

Special conditions included: refraining from the use of alcoholic beverages, not to exceed .08 BAC level, and from entering any establishment whose main purpose is the sale of alcohol; being fingerprinted within 30 days of sentencing; and being subject to the standard terms and conditions of persons on probation supervision by the Jefferson County Adult Probation Department.

Mowry accepted the plea deal as well.

Pisarcik had no prior criminal activity, and there will be no incarceration.

In 2017, Pisarcik and the sheriff’s office went about raising funds for a K-9 so he could become a handler. The office established a checking account at First Commonwealth Bank for a K-9 program. Pisarcik’s responsibilities as a K-9 handler included purchasing the necessary supplies for care and training. He was made a signatory on the checking account and was required to obtain approval from either Sheriff Carl Gotwald, Chief Deputy Sandra Means or county treasurer James VanSteenberg before making any purchases that were related to the program.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed earlier this year by Matthew Seefeld, a special agent with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations in the Western Regional Office, Gotwald, while preparing the checking account for audit, on Aug. 2, 2018, discovered that some of the supporting documents provided by Pisarcik for his purchases from Leerburg Enterprises, Inc. were not sufficient to reconcile the account. Gotwald contacted Leerburg on Oct. 18, 2018, and was told that Pisarcik did not have an account with the company and had not made the purchases that were claimed. On Oct. 19, 2018, according to the affidavit, Pisarcik told Gotwald that he had written the checks to himself without making any purchases from Leerburg, expressing that he had some financial problems and did it because he needed the money. Pisarcik resigned and repaid the money for the two fraudulent Leerburg purchases and other purchases that he made via the checking account, which totaled $4,865.75.

Initially, this was thought to be all of the money Pisarcik owed to the sheriff’s office; however, Nicholas Scaife, an accountant for the office, audited the checking account and discovered more issues. Pisarcik allegedly submitted two fraudulent invoices from Haag’s Feed Store & Milling LLC, totaling $660. Haag’s provided Gotwald and Scaife with a sample invoice, which did not resemble the invoices submitted by Pisarcik. Pisarcik also allegedly submitted a fraudulent invoice from Shallow Creek Kennels, Inc. for $5,100.78. Gotwald called Shallow Creek and requested a copy of all invoices from the sheriff’s office. No transaction in that amount was found. In addition, all of Shallow Creek’s invoice numbers begin with a 17, whereas Pisarcik’s invoice began with an 82. Lastly, Scaife reportedly discovered an invoice from Shallow Creek for $350 that appeared to be fraudulent because the invoice number was not on the company’s “all transactions list,” which includes all purchases by the sheriff’s office.

Upon completion of the analysis, Seefeld, at that time, determined that Pisarcik owed $5,978.44 to the sheriff’s office and recommended the charges of theft by deception and forgery.