The former director of Warren County Children and Youth Services has been arrested on felony theft, forgery and access device fraud charges stemming from improper use of county vehicles and a corresponding cover-up.
A statement issued by Warren County District Attorney Robert Greene on Tuesday afternoon read, "Kevin G. Lundeen, the current director of Erie County CYS, has been arrested and arraigned for actions related to his employment with CYS in Warren County."
The criminal complaint, filed by Conewango Township Police Chief Jason Peters, alleges that Lundeen "did exercise unlawful control over two Warren/Forest County DHS (Department of Human Services) vehicles and all benefits and costs associated with those vehicles in the amount of $44,948."
In an attempt to hide that use, police wrote in the complaint that Lundeen "forged signatures of numerous persons (employees of Warren/Forest County DHS) on numerous documents including gas receipts, employee duty logs and travel logs on two separate... vehicles."
Additionally, Lundeen allegedly "(used) two separate Warren/Forest County DHS gas credit cards in the amount of $23,585" that was "unauthorized by the issuer or the device holder."
"Misuse of county assets by county employees will not be tolerated," said Greene, "and to the extent that Mr. Lundeen went to cover up this alleged theft is very disheartening."
Citing the total loss to the county of over $68,000, Greene said, "Mr. Lundeen will be held accountable for his actions and will pay back every penny he has cost the Warren County taxpayers."
Lundeen resigned his position in Warren County on April 10.
The investigation into his dealings in Warren County started on May 1, according to the affidavit of probable cause, when DHS Director Mary Kushner contacted police.
"Kushner advised that after Lundeen left his position with DHS to seek new employment with Erie Co DHS, they learned that Lundeen had falsified records regarding these vehicles and these credit cards." The affidavit also states that Lundeen was "fleet manager" for the vehicles as part of his job duties.
"Kushner, the Warren County Commissioners, and the Forest County Commissioners advised that the use of these vehicles was not authorized for personal use," according to the affidavit.
A release from the Warren County Commissioners said that the Commissioners "are committed to pursuing all available remedies until the County has been fully compensated.
"Given the pending criminal charges, the Warren County Commissioners decline further comment at this time."
Employees are required to sign gas receipts, according to the affidavit, in order to verify use. Officials with DHS "verified with those employees that their signatures were forged and it was later confessed to by Lundeen that he was the person that forged those signatures."
Police interviewed Lundeen on June 13 and again on June 26. Admitting to the allegations in both interviews, during the June 26 interview Lundeen "also advised that he had also used them (vehicles) for his employment Duties at DHS." The affidavit states that Lundeen admitted to forging the signatures "in an effort to hide his personal use of these vehicles."
The affidavit lists total lost to the county at $68,533, including gas, repairs, maintenance and insurance.
Online court records show a preliminary arraignment, with bail set at $50,000 unsecured, scheduled for Tuesday.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 23.