Beaver County Courthouse / photo by John Paul
Beaver County Courthouse / photo by John Paul

For the past several years, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been conducting far-reaching investigations into potential governmental corruption and organized crime in Beaver County.

The Beaver Countian first became aware of local efforts by agencies including the FBI well before the 2015 county elections, although withheld publication about the investigations until now as law enforcement personnel cautioned earlier disclosures could have hindered investigators.

According to sources familiar with the matter, some of the efforts by federal investigators were initiated by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) who made requests for assistance to federal agencies. PSP believed their attempts at investigating certain suspected criminal elements were being hampered by some in county government and local law enforcement.

The Beaver Countian has gathered information from multiple sources showing investigations have seen work by agents from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) in addition to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), IRS Criminal Division (Internal Revenue Service), Offices of Inspectors General, PSP (Pennsylvania State Police), as well as investigators with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier and the Beaver County Detective Bureau have been excluded from involvement in the investigations, other than to be approached to hand over potentially relevant investigative files in their possession.

Many in Beaver County government first became aware of the FBI’s involvement in the county back in 2015, after Special Agents questioned then-Beaver County Jury Commissioner Shelly Blythe — a close confidant and political ally of former Sheriff George David. Word of the FBI’s involvement in Beaver County spread in some circles after Blythe discussed her visits by federal agents with several politicos, although many in county government originally believed the scope of the investigation was limited to the Sheriff’s Office.

Blythe had confirmed to the Beaver Countian at the time that she was questioned as a potential witness by federal agents, but declined to speak in detail on the record about her interactions with authorities. Among others Blythe had conversations with about the investigation was Tony Guy, a long-time friend who was then a candidate for Sheriff.

According to law enforcement sources, some of the matters that have been the subject of investigation were sparked by information provided to authorities by then-Beaver County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Larrick. Larrick’s assistance had been instrumental in PSP’s prior investigations into the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office, but Larrick was terminated in 2016 by Sheriff Tony Guy as one of his first official acts in office.

Sheriff Guy kept on staff several controversial deputies who are currently the subject of renewed scrutiny by law enforcement, according to sources familiar with ongoing investigations.

The Beaver Countian has independently learned the identities of multiple other individuals who have been questioned by various state and federal agencies, but is not identifying those potential witnesses by name at the request of law enforcement. Other inquiries by the FBI that have made it onto the radar of county officials include issues involving the spending of federal funding from HUD (The Department of Housing And Urban Development).

Along with investigating potential corruption in county government, investigators have also been scrutinizing prominent business figures and individuals in the criminal justice system.

Interviews by the FBI, PSP, and the Attorney General’s Office have seen investigators making inquires into a range of suspected issues involving firearms, gambling, narcotics, obstruction, oppression, the misappropriation of public funds, and allegations of political graft. Federal authorities have been investigating whether any of the alleged activities that may have occurred in Beaver County could fall under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — RICO — which can be used to prosecute a pattern of crimes that would otherwise be barred by statues of limitations at the state level.

The state and federal efforts encompass a series of individual investigations centered in Beaver County — including recent efforts by the Organized Crime Section (OCS) of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which has resources that include the Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury.

Efforts by OCS in Beaver County were first revealed to some after agents sought identification cards from the county that would allow them to carry their firearms through a Sheriff’s Office security checkpoint at the courthouse. Some individuals who have been questioned by OCS Agents have since discussed those interviews with others.

District Attorney Lozier had previously attempted to prevent the Pennsylvania State Police from investigating certain complaints about potential corruption in Beaver County, calling their efforts an “unauthorized investigation,” and saying, “The Pennsylvania State Police are not allowed to investigate anything involving the courthouse without my written approval […] I have not and will not be referring these matters to them.” In Lozier’s final report exonerating Treasurer Connie Javens following an investigation by County Detectives, he appeared to repeatedly insult federal investigators, saying, “As is typical of federal investigators all you receive is a blank stare, brief not talking, and no commitment to act or not act,” and, “It is my policy never to file a criminal charge for the sole purpose of punishment by charging. While the Feds often charge to force a plea, I refuse to do that.”

Earlier this week, Beaver County Commissioner Sandie Egley gave an exclusive on-the-record interview to the Beaver Countian publicly revealing she is one of the individuals who has assisted both state police and federal agents in their investigations. Egley said she will not be seeking re-election when her term expires at the end of 2019 and will focus her remaining time in office working to tackle what she described as systemic corruption in county government.

Commissioner Egley has encouraged any county employee who may have useful information to speak up, “I am hoping that me coming forward publicly gives power and ambition to all of the people who have been on the sidelines waiting for a better day. I hope they now report or turn in information about any wrongdoings they may be aware of, go to the authorities or come to me and I will help to guide them.”

The long-running investigations have seen cases transferred between agents within the FBI multiple times over the past several years to accommodate for promotions and retirements in the agency. Some of the investigations now traverse the terms of several Pennsylvania Attorneys General and U.S. Attorneys for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Law enforcement sources tell the Beaver Countian it is not uncommon for public corruption investigations to span the course of years, and say a new phase of the cooperative state-federal inquiries into potential corruption in Beaver County are now getting underway.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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BaBa
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BaBa

Looks like the Shitz gonna hit the fan. Looks like some openings in local and county government. Get your applications in peeps.

Icanread
Guest
Icanread

If the governor wants votes from Beaver County, he should see that the AG’s office does something. Everyone’s tired of the political machine- Democrats and Republicans.

Babbie
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Babbie

This is like Russia, Russia, Russia, this will go NOWHERE

Wind
Guest
Wind

If I were innocent of accusations I’d welcome any and all investigations.

wind
Member
wind

The thumbs down cracks me up. How many will my comment get from people who apparently wouldn’t welcome an investigation if they were innocent? Funny, this Beaver County mentality.

SpeakTheTruthToo
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SpeakTheTruthToo

Grab the popcorn folks, it’s going down!

weezulgoespop
Guest
weezulgoespop

Get it before it’s all gone.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

I am proud to say I am one of those that came forward to the FBI, etc. to assist in dismantling organized crime and corruption in this county. Give them a call and they’ll meet you anywhere, anytime without revealing that you spoke to them. This is your chance to take down the entitle class. All of us are morally duty bound to assist them. Maybe a dream but would loved to see them all do the Veon perp walk. Get the organized criminals and the local police that aid and abet them. Speak up now or don’t cry when we are bankrupt in this county. As I stated before, we are already morally and ethically bankrupt in our county government. If you are not part of the solution then YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

wind
Member
wind

Believe me, if I knew anything about anything I would have spoken up! As for now, I just have to trust JP for my information.

SpeakTheTruthToo
Guest
SpeakTheTruthToo

Congratulations for doing your civic duty. The county will be better off in the long run because you did the right thing.

Marsha moore
Guest
Marsha moore

Your comments have always been very believable, equalizer. It’s obvious you have personal knowledge, and I thank you for communicating it to the fbi. I have always thought the criminals in county government grossly underestimate JP’s ability to get to the truth. None of them are even close to his level of intelligence. And to the judge who continues to blow smoke in these comments: your credibility is non-existent, and your arrogance is off the charts.

James F. DiBenedetto
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James F. DiBenedetto

Where do you live ? In Wonderland ?

Mungo Jerry
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Mungo Jerry

Why yes Jim Dib we do seem to actually live right in the heart of Beaver County Fukin Wunderland!
And the symbolism of the chareacters relative to all of these ass clown Beaver bumpkins is uncanny In the original Lewis Carroll book Alice in the beginning is a fine example of the more enlightened, educated, and inquisitive folks here that want to see the old corrupt ass guard pulled from the courthouse in their whitey tighties …if found guilty of any of their numerous crimes….and stuffed into Guantanamo!
Alice starts day dreaming as her sister reads from a book as she manifests an imaginary white rabbit which is symbolic of her curiosity……stay with Mungo on this for a min Jimmy DI…..as her imaginary rabbit goes down 1 hole after another it all just becomes “curiouser and curiouser”. Kind of like JP on his quest for truth! Then comes tweedle dee and tweedle dum to tell her about curious oysters….and how curiosity can have such horrible consequences etc.
So your stoopid little insulting oneliner is so reminiscent of the typical schoolyard bully that it really is pitiful! You should prolly spend a little less time hanging at the sons of italy white club and get out and stoke your own curiosity bug here in our lovely little County once in a while!

Marsha moore
Guest
Marsha moore

Well-said, mungo!

Five-O
Guest
Five-O

And where do YOU live Jimmy?! In corrupt “Cop Land”? Oh….wait…..yes….you do.
Yep. You are one of the corrupt spokes in the big wheel of Aliquippa corruption. Always was, always will be. We can only hope that some Feds will be knocking on your door, and soon. Oh….the stories you can tell!

Dan Basta
Guest
Dan Basta

Hopefully it won’t raise taxes. We ALL pay to many expensive taxes as it is. Gettin to the point can’t afford to live here anymore, then they can’t figure out why when people move away.

Justin Shuy
Guest
Justin Shuy

I had to flew a few liberal states. The taxes were just too insane and people seem to love to bitch about paying it but happy to want to charge others

Gray Squirrel
Member
Gray Squirrel

Time to Clean the SWAMP !!