- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - An eastern Pennsylvania township’s former solicitor was sentenced to four years’ probation for stealing more than $105,000 of a developer’s funds.

A federal court judge in Scranton sentenced ex-Hazle Township solicitor Charles Pedri on Wednesday after the 65-year-old pleaded guilty in July to a felony count of theft from a program receiving federal funds.

Pedri took $105,586 from an escrow account for Massachusetts-based Hazle Spindle LLC and then deposited the funds into his law office’s account. The Hazleton man then would write checks to himself until the account was virtually depleted.

Federal prosecutors had advocated for giving Pedri jail time within the 12- to 18-month sentencing guideline.

Pedri’s attorney argued that her client stole the money out of financial despair and noted that he had an otherwise pristine record.

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