Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BCI has an ongoing criminal investigation into ex-Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky

By David Skolnick

There is an ongoing criminal investigation into former Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky, who, according to a state investigator’s affidavit, admitted stealing money from people he was a guardian over and falsifying court records, among other crimes.

Four affidavits from Ed Carlini, an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent, filed in September 2014, recently were unsealed in Youngstown Municipal Court with their details exclusively reported Thursday by The Vindicator.

“I can’t dispute what’s in the affidavit, but I can’t comment on it,” Dan Tierney, an attorney general spokesman, said Friday. “We stand by the information in the affidavit. The attorney general can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.”

In Carlini’s affidavits from 11 months ago he also wrote: “BCI is investigating Mark Belinky for crimes he committed from within the probate court, and in fact the auditor for the state of Ohio is currently conducting a special audit of the Mahoning County Probate Court to determine the breadth of Mark Belinky’s thievery.”

Brittany Halpin, a state auditor’s office spokeswoman, said Friday, “We do have a special audit [of the county probate court], and that audit is ongoing.”

In two of the affidavits, Carlini wrote that Belinky, a Boardman Democrat convicted July 9, 2014, of tampering with records, admitted to committing crimes “separate and apart” from that offense.

Belinky “admitted to stealing money from people that he was a guardian over and further has admitted to altering probate court documents to further such theft and has further admitted to using a Mahoning County probate computer to create false probate court records,” according to two of Carlini’s affidavits.

Belinky also used county employees, property and the county’s computer network for political purposes, Carlini wrote.

J. Gerald Ingram, Belinky’s attorney, declined to comment to The Vindicator about the investigation of his client.

Belinky resigned his judicial position May 8.

Dan Kasaris, a senior assistant attorney general, said during Belinky’s July 9, 2014, sentencing that the former judge was still being investigated, and the plea to the campaign-finance felony didn’t cover other potential crimes Belinky may have committed.

At that hearing, Kasaris said Belinky was being “very cooperative” with state investigative agencies and the FBI in “battling public corruption.”

Belinky was sentenced to 60 days of house arrest, 200 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine.

He admitted that during the 2008 campaign for his seat, Belinky falsified his financial records by not reporting debt and hiding the sources of loans.

The affidavits were used in September 2014 to obtain search warrants to seize computers, computer disks and software from then-county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino, a Democrat who is one of the three defendants in the Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal-corruption case.

It’s unclear why the information about Belinky was included in the affidavits.

Full Article & Source:
BCI has an ongoing criminal investigation into ex-Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky

1 comment:

Betty said...

I can't figure out how he accomplished the crime!