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Clearfield Co. tax collector admits to stealing money

Updated: Wednesday, March 26 2014, 01:25 PM EDT

Reported By: Deven Clarke
Written By: Marc Stempka

GIRARD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A Clearfield County tax collector has admitted to authorities that she stole thousands of dollars of tax payments to help cover her own expenses.

Lucinda Cardinale, 55, of Frenchville, was the tax collector for Girard Township, which is part of the Clearfield Area School District. According to court documents, investigators started to look into her tax collecting when she was the only tax collector who didn’t turn in wage tax documents to the district.

According to a criminal complaint, Cardinale made excuses for not turning in paperwork about the tax collection and described her as "evasive" when questioned about the documents. Police said when they were eventually submitted, they were incomplete.

Following additional investigation, police said they learned Cardinale wasn't supposed to be collecting taxes for the school district.

Cardinale is facing two theft-related charges that date back to October 2011. That was the year the district turned tax collecting duties over to another firm.

Investigators said through the end of last year, Cardinale cashed $52,000 in tax payments and admitted to 6 News on Tuesday that she kept that money to pay expenses, including medical costs.

"Basically what happened was, okay, I got out of work and I didn't want to end up losing the house and losing everything," Cardinale said. "There was medical, I had medical bills and things, and I borrowed money out of that account."

Cardinale said she didn't think she took $50,000, and thought it was more like $10,000 to $15,000. She said she hopes to be able to pay everything back and move on with her life.

"I was working on paying it back, but the sad thing is, I didn't get it all paid back," Cardinale said. "I know I did wrong doing it, but I was stuck."

Her next court appearance is set for April 23.

Clearfield Co. tax collector admits to stealing money


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