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FACING FRAUD CHARGES, OFFICER IS SUSPENDED

A 10-year veteran of the Lancaster Police Department has been suspended without pay from his $57,000-a-year job after he was accused of trying to bilk the school district of about $300.

Officer Mark D. DiPirro, 33, was charged with several felony and misdemeanor counts of fraud. He is accused of falsely reporting to Lancaster Central School District officials that he had worked several security guard shifts at the high school when, in fact, he hadn't.

Town Court records from DiPirro's arraignment last week show that DiPirro filed claims for payment of $128 each with the school district for security services provided from midnight to 8 a.m. on June 6 and 11.

He filed similar claims for June 12, but for the hours of midnight to 3 a.m. and for $48.

"We got a call from the police department asking us if we were aware of any possible submission of time by police officers who were not working," said School Superintendent Joseph L. Girardi. "We said no."

Then, at the request of authorities, school officials submitted DiPirro's claims to investigators.

Girardi, explaining payment procedures, said he routinely signs payroll sheets and payment is then made.

"On the days (investigators) asked for, there clearly were requests for payment," he added. "All we did was supply them with the information to do their investigation."

DiPirro was arraigned before Lancaster Town Justice Timothy Dwan and ordered to appear in court again Tuesday. He faces three felony charges and three petit larceny charges.

Neither DiPirro nor Gerald J. Gill, president of the Lancaster Police Benevolent Association, was available to comment.

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