Pennsylvania Chief Accepts Plea Deal For Theft

Embattled Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Yuknavich, facing both state and federal charges that he stole funds from his fire department, has agreed to plead guilty to the federal charges and resign as fire chief. Yuknavich has reportedly also agreed to reimburse the fire company for $45,000, the amount he is believed to have taken.

According to The Citizen’s Voice, state prosecutors have agreed to drop the state charges in lieu of Yuknavich’s plea deal.

The FBI’s web site contains the following:

Yuknavich was responsible for ensuring the deposit of monthly funds received from Wilkes-Barre Township, as well as all other funds received either through charitable contributions or annual state aid received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yuknavich allegedly deposited only part of the monthly $3500 check received from Wilkes-Barre Township intended to pay fire department bills, and took the remainder of the check in cash, most of which he used for his personal benefit.

Yuknavich is facing a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The plea deal allows him to remain a member of the fire department.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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