Judge allows Columbiana County to resume collecting embezzled $2 - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Judge allows Columbiana County to resume collecting embezzled $20 million

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Stephen Strabala during his 1995 sentencing Stephen Strabala during his 1995 sentencing

A federal judge has given Columbiana County permission to collect invested county funds embezzled by the son of late county treasurer Ardele Strabala.

The amount has grown to $20 million in more than two decades.

U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver concurred with a magistrate's recommendation and issued an order on Thursday reviving a dormant court judgment levied against Stephen Strabala in 1995 when a federal judge sentenced him to nine years in prison.

The younger Strabala was convicted on charges of embezzlement and wire fraud for secretly investing taxpayer funds for his father.

In 2007, Stephen Strabala agreed to pay $275.00 per month until he fully reimbursed the county for what was then $4,785,135 in embezzled funds.

Some of Strabala's property was sold to help pay the judgment against him.

He stopped making payments in 2011, according to court documents.

County Prosecutor Robert Herron filed the motion to revive the judgment, which with annual interest of 7.34% still accruing, has now grown to $20,461,642.

The court rejected Strabala's arguments that the statute of limitations had passed, saying that under the law at the time of Strabala's conviction, the county would still have had until February 15, 2021 to file its motion.

Judge Oliver's order may be seen here.

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