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Initial debit card probe completed

U.S. Attorney’s Office reviewing what Secret Service found.

SCRANTON – The U.S. Secret Service has concluded its initial investigation into the Luzerne County debit card scandal and has turned over the results to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Kosik-Whitaker said the Secret Service completed its probe in late October. Prosecutors are now reviewing the report to determine whether there is evidence of a crime being committed. No determination has yet been made.

The Secret Service launched the investigation in December 2007 in response to public outcry that followed revelations that several county employees had used the cards for questionable purchases, including a $71 charge at a Las Vegas strip club that was made by Luzerne County Prison Warden Sam Hyder.

The agency conducted numerous interviews and reviewed volumes of documents. The probe took longer than initially expected because agents were called away on protective duty during the presidential campaign.

Kosik-Whitaker said she does not believe the U.S. Attorney’s Office will release the results of the probe if no charges are filed. The report is considered an investigative document, she said, and those documents typically are not released.

Kosik-Whitaker said it is possible the Secret Service could choose to release the document once a final determination has been made regarding whether charges will be filed.

The investigation was being headed by the Philadelphia field office of the Secret Service. Bob Slama, special agent in charge of that office, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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