Elizabeth constable charged with theft
Theft charges have been filed against a state constable from Elizabeth accused of keeping fines he collected from court defendants.
Constable Corey Evans was charged on Wednesday with seven counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received after a series of alleged thefts from the Magisterial District Court in Forward Township were discovered.
According to court documents, the Allegheny County District Attorney's office began the investigation on April 21 that led to the charges after Magisterial District Judge Beth S. Mills notified the office that a defendant in her courtroom said there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest even though he'd paid Evans money owed to the court.
The defendant had a receipt for the payment, though Mills' office had no record of receiving it.
The district attorney's office began investigating other individuals with outstanding warrants from the local court and found seven similar instances from March 2012 to December 2013 in which Evans allegedly collected a total of $1,551 in fines that were never turned over.
Evans did return $243.50 to the court, which was payment for the fine he collected from the defendant whose case initiated the investigation. That payment was made one week after he met with county investigators and resigned his position.
During his meeting with investigators on April 28, Evans said in an interview that he didn't remember the incidents leading to the allegations. Evans was offered the opportunity to repay the money and told he was to resign from his position, which he did the following day.
Evans was appointed constable in March 2008 by Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel to complete the term of former Constable George Payne after his death. Evans ran unopposed for the position, which has a six-year term, in the November 2009 election.
Mills said on Wednesday she is recusing herself from the case, which was filed in her office, and likely will be a witness when the matter goes to court.
“I'm waiting for court administration to get it reassigned,” she said.
Mills said her office has received at least one more complaint about unpaid court fines, adding the district attorney's case may have to be amended.
“It's a sad day to have to sign a complaint against somebody that works for you,” Mills said.
Evans could not be reached for comment.
A district attorney's office spokesman said the charges are being filed as a summons and will be sent to Evans in the mail.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.