Judge sentences SCI Dallas employee who pilfered prison charity funds

By Joe Dolinsky - jdolinsky@timesleader.com


    WILKES-BARRE — A one-time supervisor at State Correctional Institution at Dallas who stole money from a prison charitable account was sentenced Thursday in Luzerne County Court to three years in the county’s Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP).

    Stasia M. Lanning, 39, of Hunlock Township, pleaded guilty in May to a single felony count of theft after police say she pilfered thousands of dollars from the prison’s employees’ association, which receives funds from vending machine sales and fundraisers to support employees and their families.

    Lanning was president and treasurer of the association between 2008 and 2013 when an audit revealed more than $73,800 was missing from its accounts, according to a criminal complaint. She surrendered when the allegations surfaced in 2014 and was released on $25,000 unsecured bail, court records show.

    Robin Lucas, a spokesperson at SCI Dallas, confirmed Stasia no longer works at the prison.

    In imposing his sentence, Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough ordered Lanning to pay $45,000 in restitution to the prison, $29,000 of which was to be paid Thursday. The judge also placed her under house arrest for the first three months of her IPP sentence.

    “I don’t know where the money went,” Vough said to Lanning. “I don’t know if you have a problem, but it’s important you take the steps to pay this money back.”

    According to the criminal complaint, Lanning initially refused to surrender account records to new officers of the association in 2013. She was ordered by prison Superintendent Jerome Walsh to turn over the records, which were reviewed by the prison’s business manager, David L. Popek.

    Popek, the complaint says, found the account had a shortage of about $8,000.

    The state Department of Corrections’ Office of Special Investigations had the account audited, which showed $17,186 was used toward employee activities while a total of $73,832 was removed or never deposited, according to the complaint.

    Search warrants for Lanning’s personal bank accounts allegedly showed she made more than $100,000 in cash deposits from January 2008 to January 2014. She claimed during an interview with investigators the cash was given to her by her ex-husband, the complaint says.

    During the same period, Lanning allegedly made cash withdrawals from the account totaling $40,964, and transferred money from the account into her personal account using a home computer.


    By Joe Dolinsky


    Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL

    Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL

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