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Former Monessen treasurer Rizzuto pleads guilty to stealing, gets probation

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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

The former treasurer of Monessen will serve one year on probation for skimming parking meter cash from city coffers.

Frank “Bucky” Rizzuto, an elected official who managed the city's finances for 26 years, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of theft and tampering with public records.

Rizzuto, 73, was arrested last year because officials suspected cash was missing from the city's accounts and started the investigation while he was out of town on vacation.

An internal audit was conducted, and an investigation by county detectives found that more than $470 was missing.

According to court records, Rizzuto admitted to stealing the cash when he was confronted by detectives and even pulled $6.50 in quarters from his pockets during questioning.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Rizzuto, a former county employee in the public works department, was not offered a chance to enroll in a diversionary program that would have allowed his criminal record to be expunged.

“He was an elected official in a city that does have its financial difficulties,” Peck said. “He was stealing from people who elected him.”

Police said Rizzuto falsified ledgers to reflect that the city received a smaller amount in parking revenue while he pocketed the difference.

Judge John Blahovec ordered Rizzuto to serve the probation and perform 100 hours of community service. He also was ordered to repay the city $311.

Rizzuto confirmed he was disappointed the prosecution did not offer ARD (accelerated rehabilitative disposition), which would have given him the opportunity to clear his criminal record, but declined to answer other questions about the plea.

“I just wanted it settled; there's nothing else more I can say,” Rizzuto said. “I'm glad it's settled.”

In a guilty plea petition he signed in court on Tuesday, Rizzuto wrote, “I admit to the crime for which I am pleading guilty.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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