Former Chester County Sheriff Pleads To Charges of Theft

Legal ComplaintImage by Mike Braun

HARRISBURG, PA — Attorney General Josh Shapiro this week announced that former Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Welsh and former deputy Harry McKinney have pleaded to charges of theft and diversion of services for using Chester County payroll funds to compensate employees for volunteer work, performed both on and off duty, at private charity events. Since taking office in 2017, Attorney General Shapiro has made 87 public corruption arrests.

“Welsh and McKinney took advantage of their positions of authority, and illegally used public resources meant to serve the residents of Chester County to staff private fundraisers,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Enforcing the law does not put you above it. We will continue to shut down corruption wherever it is found.”

Welsh and McKinney were arrested on November 23, 2020, following a Grand Jury investigation. The investigation revealed that, because Chester County did not have the budget to support a K-9 unit as large as the one that Welsh and McKinney sought to create, they used on-duty deputies to perform volunteer work for the K9 unit fundraisers when they should have been performing duties for the county.

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Welsh would also award the deputies who volunteered for fundraisers outside of normal business hours with compensatory time, which was then used by the deputies to take days off of work while still being paid by the County. In addition, the Grand Jury revealed that McKinney used over $4,000 of the funds raised to cover the expenses of a personal pet that was not a working canine.

Welsh and McKinney both pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of Theft of Services and Theft by Unlawful Taking. Sentencing will take place at a later date. The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Megan Madaffari.

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