NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – The fired treasurer of Shenango Township in Lawrence County has been charged with stealing nearly $800,000 from taxpayers during his 14 years in office.

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Brian Tanner, 49, of New Castle, surrendered Wednesday as Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa announced more than 500 counts of forgery and theft-related crimes against Tanner.

“Their appears to be now legitimate reason for issuing those checks except for theft,” Lamancusa says.

Lamancusa’s office had previously obtained search warrants for Shenango Township records that suggest there were $1.2 million in questionable expenditures.

So far, Lamancusa said nearly $800,000 has been was determined to be illegal.

Investigators say the theft was exposed by a state auditor generals investigation.

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“When they were doing the audit they discovered some financial irregularities,” Lamancusa says.

Tanner is also accused of using a township credit card for luxuries and flights.

Tanner was fired as secretary/treasurer in July after auditors determined he wrote more than 200 checks worth more than $453,000 to himself and a township auditor – who has also been fired – from 2011 to 2013.

His defense attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

The Lawrence County District Attorney says other charges are expected to be filed soon in the case.

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