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News August 19, 2010

Secret Service seeking tax info.

August 19, 2010

The Times Leader
By Jennifer Learn-Andes This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Agent meets with Northeast Revenue Service about Thom Greco’s checks.

A U.S. Secret Service agent met with a representative of Luzerne County’s tax claim operator Thursday to discuss Wilkes-Barre real estate investor Thom Greco’s allegation that he had nothing to do with six bounced electronic checks for his back taxes.

Sean Shamany, of Northeast Revenue Service LLC, which took over the county’s tax claim office in May, said he met with the agent for about 20 minutes about the Greco matter.

Shamany declined further comment, and the Secret Service has declined to comment.

Northeast Revenue will supply any documents or information requested by the Secret Service, Shamany said.

“We’re not hiding anything. We want the problem rectified,” he said.

Shamany said he was expecting the inquiry because Greco told him he would be reporting the matter to federal authorities.

The bad checks recently became public because Northeast Revenue returned several of Greco’s properties to default status on its public tax claim computer database. Northeast representatives indicated that Greco had bounced the checks totaling $41,911.

Northeast Revenue President John Rodgers, an attorney, said at the time that he hoped the overdraft was a mistake and that he would send a letter to Greco requesting payment.

Greco, 53, visited the tax claim office last Friday, saying he had not authorized the bounced electronic checks and had no idea who did. Greco could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Electronic checks are similar to conventional paper checks, but they are issued to recipients over the Internet using online banking accounts. To use this payment system for back taxes, a computer user must select the property on which payment is being made and enter the bank account number, the bank routing number and birth date of the bank account holder.

Once the data is entered, a review screen pops up summarizing the information. The computer user must agree that the information is accurate, and a receipt appears on the screen.

This process had to be performed for each of the six checks that ultimately bounced.

Greco’s back tax debt has received headlines in light of his guilty plea July 26 to a felony charge of failing to report a crime as part of the ongoing county corruption probe.

Northeast Revenue is also performing an internal investigation to determine more about the bank account that was listed for the bounced checks and the identity of the owner of the computer from which the transaction originated.

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