SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – A longtime Pennsylvania clerk of courts has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he stole public money and then tried to hide his tracks by forging records.

Former Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Stephen Lukach Jr. of Nesquehoning pleaded guilty Thursday to mail fraud and falsification of records. The 69-year-old Democrat awaits sentencing.

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Federal prosecutors say he stole funds from various court accounts, using the money to make car payments and pay for meals, a family member’s credit card bill, and other personal expenses. An indictment says Lukach forged bank records in an attempt to conceal the thefts.

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Lukach was first elected to the office in 1987. He resigned under a cloud four years ago.

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