Wilkins constable charged with bilking woman out of thousands in cash
A state constable has been accused of cheating a woman out of more than $3,000 by promising to help her with cases involving her child and brother.
Pittsburgh police on Wednesday charged Constable Anthony J. Cioppa Jr., 47, of Wilkins Township, with theft by deception and official repression.
Cioppa was released after appearing for a preliminary hearing before Pittsburgh District Judge Derwin Rushing. A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for May 29 before Judge Kim Berkeley Clark.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office will ask that as a condition of his bond, Cioppa be “prohibited from performing any court related functions statewide,” spokesman Mike Manko said Thursday.
Cioppa and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Investigators say Tiarra Reardon met Cioppa in March while he was moonlighting as an Uber driver, according to a criminal complaint filed in support of the charges.
After Cioppa told Reardon that he worked as a state constable, she confided in him that she was having “legal troubles” obtaining custody of her 13-month-old son, according to the complaint.
Cioppa allegedly told Reardon that he also worked as an investigator for a private law firm in North Versailles that would provide legal services to help get her son back at a cost of “about $5,000 over time,” to which she agreed.
On April 12, Cioppa met Reardon at her home three times and collected $750 cash during each visit, for a total of $2,250 that he said he would deliver to the law office.
The following day, Cioppa collected another $1,000 in cash from Reardon, according to investigators.
During that meeting, Reardon told Cioppa that her brother was in jail.
Cioppa allegedly responded that he would use part of the $1,000 to “get your brother out of jail and an early court date.”
When Reardon didn’t hear back from Cioppa after giving him the money she became suspicious and called the law office, but was told by a secretary that they did not have a partnership with Cioppa and did not receive any money from him for legal services.
Reardon told police that she called Cioppa to tell him that she was “aware of his dishonesty” and no longer wanted him to work on her behalf, according to the complaint.
She also told him she planned to contact a lawyer to file theft charges against him.
Cioppa allegedly responded: “Don’t get a lawyer, I got your brother out of jail. I’ll just bring the money back.”
Cioppa met with Reardon later that day, but instead of returning the money, he presented a handwritten note saying he would return the cash the following day.
According to authorities, Cioppa never showed up to pay Reardon and did not return her telephone calls. Investigators also said Cioppa did not do anything to assist Reardon’s brother.
In Pennsylvania, constables are elected in the municipality in which they reside but have authority to make arrests, by warrant, anywhere in the state.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .