Federal grand jury considers charges against fired YPD officer - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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Federal grand jury considers charges against fired YPD officer

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Pete Luchansky Pete Luchansky
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A federal grand jury is now considering charges against a former Youngstown Police Officer who was fired from the force for shoplifting.

The FBI arrested 59-year-old Peter Luchansky at his home on Steeplechase Drive in Canfield on Wednesday.

A criminal complaint alleges that Luchansky engaged in mail or wire fraud by stealing as much as $2-million from a group of Canton orthopedic surgeons who employed him as an Information Technology Manager.

According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Youngstown. Luchansky orchestrated a scheme to create vendors in order to fraudulently bill his employer for services either not provided or provided at an inflated prices.

The affidavit that was used to obtain a warrant for the arrest of Luchansky points out that Luchansky was employed as a Youngstown Police officer until he was fired from the force in 1983 for stealing two bags of shrimp from a grocery store.

Background:

Luchansky was hired in 2005 to maintain all information technology systems for Spectrum Orthopedics. Operating from four locations in Stark County, Spectrum is an adult and pediatric orthopedic surgery practice staffed by 12 surgeons and more than 100 staff members.

As IT Manager, Luchansky had an office in Canton, and also maintained a network operating system in his Canfield home so that he could remotely access the corporate system.

By 2013, his salary had risen to more than $100,000 a year.

An audit of Spectrum last year uncovered evidence that IT vendor Healthcare Information Technology Services, (HITS) which is registered in the name of Luchansky's wife Margaret, failed to charge any state sales taxes.

A further investigation by an accountant found that Spectrum had been paying Healthcare Information Technology Services four to five times more than the listed parts were worth. In addition, the company was billing Spectrum for parts that had been out of existence for the past ten to 12 years.

The affidavit says that this past April, Peter Luchansky asked Spectrum to approve another company, Strategic Technical Systems and Services, as a vendor.

By then, Spectrum officials were already aware of the billing discrepancies involving the company registered in his wife's name. But Spectrum executives were concerned that Luchansky would cripple their IT system if they confronted him about the discrepancies.

Investigators say that Luchansky resisted when Spectrum's attorney went to him in July and asked him to provide the actual invoices from the two vendors

On that same day, Luchansky returned to his Canfield home to find an individual hired by a technology firm, the Director of IT Services from Spectrum's accounting firm, and a deputy sheriff waiting for him. The asked Luchansky to turn over Spectrum's IT equipment. After Luchansky complied, he was placed on unpaid suspension from the company.

One week later, Luchansky's attorney told Spectrum's lawyer that Luchansky admitted that the invoices from his wife's company were fake, and that the other company, Strategic Technical Systems and Services (STSS) did not exist.

Luchansky's attorney told Spectrum that nobody else was involved, and Luchansky would make restitution. As a sign of good faith, Luchansky paid Spectrum $62,000.

In August, Luchansky's attorney told Spectrum that his client could come up with $1.2 million in the next few weeks to repay Spectrum. The Spectrum attorney did not reveal that he had contacted the FBI.

On August 15 Luchansky's employment was terminated. He did not turn over the promised $1.2 million.

The affidavit claims that as IT Manager, Luchansky was able to submit and approve all payments to both companies, HITS and STSS. Investigators found that the Canton post office box used for HITS business mail had been rented by Peter Luchansky.

The FBI says that the post office box and address listed for the second company, STSS, came back to the Market Street office of Luchansky's attorney Albert Palombaro.

The affidavit says that Palombaro had given Spectrum invoices from Healthcare Information Technology Services (HITS). The Spectrum accountant found that invoices covering 2005 through 2014 total approximately $2.3 million of computer supplies, equipment and licenses. But the affidavit alleges that none of the items as represented were actually purchased.

Instead, according to information from Luchansky's attorney, Luchansky would buy computer items at a scratch and dent store, or buy the essential parts of a computer for $300, and bill Spectrum $2,400.

Credit card questions:

In July, Luchansky's attorney gave Spectrum statements from two of Luchansky's personal credit cards. Previously, Luchansky had received permission from Spectrum to use those personal credit cards for Spectrum business in order to obtain credit card rewards.

A review of the purchases listed on the actual credit card statements found that they did not correspond with what Luchansky submitted for reimbursement from Spectrum. The affidavit lists as an example a Citibank statement Luchansky submitted for the purchase of more than $4,700 worth of computer equipment. However the actual bank statement shows purchases on those dates were made at Dillard's, Circle K, Shell Oil, OnStar and a firearms company.

The investigator reviewing actual credit card statements found that many of the purchases were for food, travel, nail salons, firearms, motor vehicle related purchases and jewelry.

Examples of travel include seven payments totaling $21,630 to Apple Vacations.

Examples of jewelry purchases include expenditures totaling $37,386 to a Youngstown jeweler, and several online luxury wristwatch retailers or repair businesses.

There were four credit card charges from a Salem auto dealer totaling $24,000, and four more expenditures totaling $8,549 to a local Harley Davidson dealer.

A review of state records showed that vehicles registered in Luchansky's name include a 2009 Corvette, a 2014 Acura, a 2007 Lexus and two Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The investigation found credit card charges on 31 separate occasions to various firearm and tactical suppliers totaling more than $43,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that Luchansky purchased 35 firearms between 2009 and 2014.

Federal investigators also allege that Luchansky billed Spectrum $365,093 for consulting services that were never performed.

Luchansky appeared in U.S. District Court in Youngstown on Wednesday. A federal magistrate set bond at fifty thousand dollars and bound the case over to a grand jury for consideration.


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