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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Former Wilkes-Barre Towing Contractor Sentenced To Two And A Half Years Imprisonment For Mail Fraud, Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm And Filing A False Income Tax Return

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Leo Glodzik, age 45, of Wilkes-Barre, was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo, on charges of mail fraud, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and subscribing to a false federal income tax return.  Glodzik was also ordered to pay approximately $299,000 in back federal taxes and penalties and directed to report to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence on October 24, 2016.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the charges, filed in March 2016, in part arose as a result of the towing contract Glodzik’s firm, LAG Transport, Inc. (LAG), had with the City of Wilkes-Barre for the exclusive rights to tow all vehicles as requested by the City, and/or the Wilkes-Barre Police Department, the city’s agents. The contract began in January 2005 and was ended in June 2013, after the disclosure of complaints from residents related to LAG’s towing practices, all of which led to the federal investigation.

U.S. Attorney Smith stated that, “Glodzik’s corrupt dealings with the City of Wilkes-Barre, the credit union and elements of the City’s Police Department constituted a sad and sleazy chapter in the city’s history.  The honest and hard-working residents, police officers and business people of the community deserve better and the City’s government must ensure that it does not happen again.”

The investigation established that LAG towed vehicles supposedly as the result of accidents, police incidents or vehicle abandonment and took the vehicles to locations owned and controlled by Glodzik.

Glodzik devised a scheme to defraud lawful owners of the vehicles by charging them excessive towing and storage fees for LAG’s services or intentionally hindering the owners’ access to their vehicles creating additional fees.  As a result, in some cases, owners signed over the title to vehicles to LAG or Glodzik to discharge the fees.

Glodzik then gained ownership of the vehicles by misusing the abandonment procedures of the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicle (PennDot) to transfer ownership from registered owners to LAG.  Forms were submitted to PennDot, using the U.S. Postal Service.

The forms submitted to PennDot stated that vehicles had a value of less than $500, when, in fact, the values were greater.  This resulted in Glodzik being able to avoid the requirement that called for legal advertisement of abandoned vehicles and payments to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of money received for vehicles sold at auctions for amounts that were above and beyond Glodzik’s own business costs.

As a result of the scheme, Glodzik enriched himself by unlawfully taking ownership of vehicles to which he was not entitled and using intentional misrepresentations to reduce his own expenses and costs.

The fraud scheme is set out in a mail fraud charge in the Criminal Information relating to a vehicle for which a notice of declaration of abandonment was mailed to PennDot in April 2011.

Additionally, Glodzik was charged in the Criminal Information with Federal Income Tax Fraud, specifically, the filing of a federal tax return for 2008, in which he claimed zero taxable income, when, in fact, his actual taxable income for that year was $408,618.  Glodzik pleaded guilty on

The Criminal Information also charged Glodzik with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  The charge was part of an earlier Indictment of Glodzik by a federal grand jury in Scranton in April 2015.  The discovery of the firearms was pursuant to searches of Glodzik’s business and residence.  Glodzik pleaded guilty earlier this year pursuant to a plea agreement with the government.

Investigations were conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police as part of continuing inquiries into local government practices and contracting in Luzerne County.  Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and John Gurganus. 

Glodzik was previously convicted on state charges in a Pennsylvania State Police investigation.  Glodzik was charged in an April 2015 federal indictment with bank fraud in connection with the Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union. A former Wilkes-Barre City police officer and a former credit union employee were charged and pleaded guilty in that investigation.  The government agreed to dismiss the bank fraud charge against Glodzik as part of the plea agreement in this case.

Overall, the investigation led to the conviction of four individuals, new management of the credit union and increased oversight of its operations. 

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Topic(s): 
Tax
Updated September 20, 2016