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Fire department sues ex-treasurer, bank

Rich Cholodofsky
| Sunday, May 13, 2012, 10:42 p.m.

A Westmoreland County volunteer fire department has filed a lawsuit against a former treasurer accused of stealing money and the bank that cashed more than $90,000 in checks for him.

The Turkeytown Volunteer Fire Department in South Huntingdon Township contends National City Bank was negligent when it cashed checks written by John Sarosi Jr.

Sarosi, 57, was treasurer of the fire department, and according to court records, he forged the name of another department official on checks as part of a scheme to swindle more than $90,000 over a four-year period.

Sarosi was charged last month with theft, forgery and other offenses.

In the two-count lawsuit filed Thursday, fire department officials are seeking an unspecified amount in damages from both Sarosi and National City Bank.

Sarosi, the fire department contends, improperly used a bank account, extended a line of credit without proper authority and made financial records appear normal.

National City allowed Sarosi to be able to misappropriate department funds, Turkeytown officials say in the lawsuit.

Police said over a nine-month period ending Sept. 30, 2001, when Sarosi was suspended from the department, he failed to deposit $40,122 raised during Friday evening bingo games.

According to court records from February 1998 through September 2001, Sarosi issued numerous checks from the fire department's bank account payable to "cash" or himself. The checks totaled $19,643. Authorities also charged that Sarosi diverted another $30,942 to himself from a special credit line account the company maintained for equipment purchases at National City's branch office in Smithton.

Police said Sarosi forged the name of fire Chief Lawrence J. Nemec Jr. on checks written from a credit account, according to court records. Those checks required the signature of two fire department officers.

Sarosi had been a firefighter for approximately 10 years prior to his suspension.

National City officials could not be reached for comment.

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