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Pennsylvania Sheriff's Alleged Scheme Leads to Probe

A scheme to entrap an employee suspected of leaking information about finances in the Beaver County Sheriff's Office led to a grand jury investigation by the state Attorney General's Office and a financial audit by the county, the district attorney said.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office had no comment Wednesday on the grand jury investigation.

Neither Sheriff George David nor his lawyer, Myron Sainovich, returned phone calls.

The episode started in July when the public release of a video prompted David to ask District Attorney Anthony Berosh to investigate a potential violation of the state's wiretap laws by someone David thought had taped him issuing firearms permits at reduced rates, Berosh said.

David thought Stephanie Guidice, a longtime employee who issues the gun permits, leaked information about the permitting practices, Berosh said. Guidice was removed from her job this year and sued the office. She was reinstated before the July 29 taping incident.

"It's obvious that there is a problem between them," Berosh said.

Guidice, Berosh said, had nothing to do with the taping, which was done by a resident of Beaver County. The video did not violate wiretapping laws because it was made in a public part of the office.

The tape shows a conversation between David and Midland Constable Raymond Dushac, who applied for a gun permit. Dushac is charged $1 for the permit instead of the listed $15.

David told the district attorney's office that he deliberately undercharged Dushac and authorized it in writing in order to entrap Guidice.

"(Another man) heard the sheriff say, 'I'll fix it for you,' to Dushac and then went on, with a phone, to film Dushac being undercharged," Berosh said.

The resident who made the tape became angry that a woman he was with was denied a firearms permit, based on a criminal background check.

Unrelated to the taping episode, David was arrested in March and awaits trial on charges including making terroristic threats, simple assault, official oppression and obstruction of justice. He is awaiting trial.

A state audit of the sheriff's office this year found irregularities in charges for gun permits and for serving papers. It was a routine scheduled audit of public agencies by the state auditor general.

David Rossi, the county's auditor, said he is auditing the operations of David's office and expects to release the results in a couple of weeks.

Copyright 2013 - The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

McClatchy-Tribune News Service