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Press Release

Former Scranton Police Officer And Police Union President Pleads Guilty To Federal Program Fraud In Connection With Overtime Patrol Shifts At Scranton Area Housing Complexes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Paul Helring, age 47, a former Scranton police officer and the former elected police union president, pleaded guilty on January 25, 2024, before United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, to the offense of Theft Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the criminal Information to which Helring pleaded guilty alleges that, from approximately March 2021 to May 2022, while serving as the coordinator of Scranton Police Department’s extra duty overtime program, Helring knowingly obtained by fraud over $5,000.00 in compensation that was paid to him for certain extra duty patrol shifts at local, Scranton-area, lower-income housing complexes that Helring claimed to work but did not in fact work.

Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement with the United States, Helring acknowledged that the monetary loss attributable to his conduct was between $15,000 and $40,000, and that he abused a position of public trust in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission of his offense.  Helring also agreed to make restitution to the affected housing complexes in the amount of $17,831.40.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Public Corruption Task Force with assistance from the Office of Inspector General within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffery St John and Phillip J. Caraballo are prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

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Updated January 26, 2024