Investigation targets Judge Belinky's political campaign and sus - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Investigation targets Judge Belinky's political campaign and suspected corruption

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Court documents indicate that the investigation of Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky centers on his campaigns for office, and alleged corruption in office.

A return on the warrant used in Friday's search of Belinky's office in the Mahoning County Courthouse says that agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and sheriff's deputies were looking for bank records, campaign finance reports, list of donations, list of donors, ledgers, and any documentation, computers electronic storage devices, and electronic media.

Although no criminal charges have been filed against Judge Belinky at this time, the court filing labels the items as evidence in criminal offenses including, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, tampering with records, bribery, money laundering, theft and theft in office.

Authorities confiscated dozens of items from Belinky's office, including campaign records, a photo copy of campaign checks from 2004, campaign reports from the primary and general elections of 2008, returned campaign post cards and campaign events from 2008, campaign petitions and filing documents from 2014, and information about the location of campaign signs.

Judge Belinky recently filed petitions to run for reelection.

Financial items listed on the search warrant return including a promissory note with wages and garnishment, IRS information, bank statements, tax returns, and an amended W-4 statement from 2007.

Agents also confiscated items marked as Oakhill notes and Venerose property information from 2007.

An affidavit that would provide more information on the investigation remains sealed by a judges order.

Efforts to unseal a second warrant used to search Belinky's Boardman home on Friday have been unsuccessful.

Judge Belinky, who has not been charged in connection with the investigation, was on the bench hearing cases Monday.

Judge Belinky tells 21 News that he cannot appear on camera, or make any further comments at this point.

However, Belinky issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

Despite the events of the last few days, I wish to assure the residents of Mahoning County that the Probate Court is open for business and will continue to serve the public in a professional and respectful manner. The voters of Mahoning County elected me 6 years ago to improve the operations of the Probate Court. I brought 30 years of probate experience to the job and I have worked diligently to improve the Court and serve the public.

With the help of a wonderful staff, the Court has earned the respect of those who need the services of the Court and the legal profession. The Mahoning County Probate Court is considered by practitioners, agencies and members of the public as one of the finest probate courts in Ohio.

As a person and as a Judge, I have great respect for law enforcement. The Court works closely with the dedicated men and women of law enforcement in many areas of probate law. For example, we have kept the community safe and make certain that the mentally challenged receive proper treatment so that we in Mahoning County are not faced with a Newtown or Columbine situation. As a Judge, I will continue to work closely with law enforcement. As a person, I have cooperated with law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate.

The public should be confident that Probate Court is open for business and that I and the Court staff are here to serve the residents of Mahoning County.

 

Stay connected with 21 News and WFMJ.COM for the latest on this developing story.

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