Author: PGH Law
Lawyer for woman charged in fatal Ross Township hit-and-run says client had ‘no idea’ she hit anyone
Steve Townsend represents 39-year-old Erin Petroski, who is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence after police said she hit and killed 31-year-old Elizabeth Griser on Babcock Boulevard on Jan. 13.
Great person. Even greater attorney. I knew from our first meeting that he was the best. A completely honest and trustworthy man. Atty. Townsend will always be the name i recomend to others in need of representation.
Townsend is an overall amazing attorney!! A family member of mine was recently in need of legal support, and Townsend was incredibly helpful. He was professional, attentive, trustworthy and truly eased their worry throughout the process! I 100% recommend him as your lawyer! You will not be disappointed.https://goo.gl/maps/KoEqVGu8oyizMT5PA
Comes in Like a Wrecking Ball
This man (Mr. Townsend) is an incredible person. He is kind, attentive and comes in like a wrecking ball to fight and win for you with everything he’s got! He’s funny yet completely honest and professional. I would recommend him to anyone with out a doubt in my mind and with out question! He is a good man who is great at his job! I could not have asked for anyone better to represent myself. I cannot speak highly enough of him and how he goes above and beyond!
The Kaper Family
Unfounded & False Reports of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault has been consistently shown to be the most underreported violent crime in the United States.1, 2 Victims cite a range of reasons for not reporting their victimizations to law enforcement, including feelings of shame and self-blame, fear of not being believed, and accusations about complicity in the crime.3–5 Another complexity within sexual assault reporting is possible false reporting. Research suggests that about 2%–10% of sexual assault reports are false.
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To begin if there were more stars available I would definitely rate Mr. Townsend a 100 stars. Mr. Townsend has been an ambassador of defense and professional representation not just for myself but for my family members and good friends the same. Always does his upmost to get the best results in whatever matter legally. If ever one would need legal representation, I would strongly recommend them th e best legal representation there is with Mr. Townsend. An attorney can always trust and feel secure with.
Steve Townsend was an amazing attorney. The judge even said “I heard you were good but not that good”. He was so easy to work with and extremely reliable. If I ever need an attorney in the future he’s who I will be calling.
Probation is a sufficient sentence
Ex-soccer treasurer in Beaver County gets probation in $100k embezzlement
Saying he wouldn’t send her to prison so she can pay restitution, a federal judge on Thursday sentenced the former treasurer of a Beaver County youth soccer association to probation for stealing $100,000 and using it to pay for cruises, merchandise and household bills.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab imposed a term of five years probation on Jenessa Tolejko, who had waived indictment by grand jury and pleaded guilty to stealing from the Brighton Township-Beaver Soccer Association.
He also put her on home detention for nine months and ordered her to pay at least $1,000 a month towards full restitution.
Ms. Tolejko said that she stole because of her family’s financial difficulties brought on in part by medical expenses for her son.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Bengel rejected that explanation, saying she didn’t use any of the money for medical payments but instead paid for a Royal Caribbean cruise, a flight to Hawaii, her mortgage, various bills from utilities and personal purchases from Amazon and the high-end LuLaRoe clothing company.
“She had easy access to a significant pot of money and she thought she could use it for her own purposes without getting caught,” Mr. Bengel said.
In fact, he said, she was only discovered because of a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 2019 that reported she had been accused of stealing $3,000 in pet adoption fees from an animal rescue service. The soccer association approached her after that to discuss the association finances. A week later, Mr. Bengel said, Tolejko’s father-in-law wired her $35,000. He told investigators that he believed he was helping her resolve a “state case involving dogs,” Mr. Bengel said.
He said the Tolejko family has a nice home and her husband has a good salary as an electrical engineer working in Ohio, so there was no financial distress to serve as motivation for the thefts. In addition, the soccer association said it has suffered greatly because of her actions.
“I think a sentence of imprisonment is necessary,” Mr. Bengel said.
The guideline range was 21 to 27 months.
Tolejko and her lawyer, Steve Townsend, asked for probation, saying she has already paid $5,000 in restitution and is needed at home to care for her three children and her mother.
Tolejko said she is “incredibly remorseful” for violating the trust the association gave her.
“I selfishly violated that trust,” she said. “I embarrassed my family.”
Judge Schwab said her conduct was “outrageous” but granted the probation request because the association said its priority was to get its money back. In addition, he noted her solid work history and her need to care for her children.
“Incarceration would be inconsistent with the goal of restitution,” he said.
But he also said he’s well aware that her thefts were for personal luxury items and other expenses as opposed to medical bills, for which the family had health insurance.
“Just to make it clear, these were not medical expenses,” the judge said.
Tolejko had complete control over the soccer association’s bank account, debit card and two certificates of deposit. The money was supposed to go towards soccer gear, field fees and the like.
From 2016 to 2019, Tolejko caused about $180,000 to be deposited into the soccer association’s Citizens Bank account and then used $100,000 of it for herself.
She also transferred money from the association’s Blue Sombrero account into two other accounts that she and her husband controlled. Blue Sombrero provides league management tools for youth sports leagues.
As a result of the embezzlement, Mr. Bengel said the soccer association has not been able to replace deteriorating soccer gear and had to charge families higher fees to recoup the money.
First Published August 26, 2021, 12:35pm
Aliquippa Assistant Police Chief Joe Perciavalle, in his 21st month of paid suspension and legal wrangling, learned last week the state had dropped its final criminal charge against him fought by criminal defense lawyers based in Orange County area.
City Council is expected to discuss his work status at next week’s meeting. In the meantime, Perciavalle, who is expecting the arrival of a daughter in August, is finding it difficult to celebrate.
“Obviously I’m happy with the outcome, my attorney was great,” he said today. “I feel like I did the day I was first arrested, I don’t know what to think. I’m happy for my wife and family, they’re all relieved. When it comes to finances or business related issues involving family one can go on to consult a lawyer from a firm like Norwood Law Firm.
“But I can’t even go anywhere to celebrate because of this damn coronavirus. This shouldn’t be a moment for me because this never should have happened. I feel like I won one battle, but I’m going into the next. I’m worried they might try something else now.”
Perciavalle was the second police chief appointed and suspended within two days in June 2018 and in the wake of the May 13, 2018 murder of city resident Rachael DelTondo. City Council first put Police Chief Donald Couch on paid leave on June 6, 2018, saying Couch was believed to be the subject of a state police investigation.
County detectives arrested Perciavalle on June 8, 2018 on charges of felony distribution of sexually explicit material to a minor, felony unlawful contact with a minor, and misdemeanor corruption of a minor.
County detectives alleged that Perciavalle sent then-17-year-old Lauren Watkins a text message containing a short video of a semi-nude woman urinating while on a swing.
Both Perciavalle and Watkins said the “meme” video was sent to her by mistake as part of a group text message intended for her father, Aliquippa Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, who has since been demoted to patrolman.
The video was discovered when detectives were examining Lauren Watkins’ phone as part of their investigation into DelTondo’s murder. That case remains unsolved.
On July 10, 2018, county detectives filed an additional felony charge against Perciavalle for intercepting a communication, alleging Perciavalle illegally recorded a conversation with Couch on March 2, the day state police served a search warrant on city offices.
District Judge Edward Howe in December 2018 dismissed the two felony charges of disseminating sexually explicit materials and unlawful contact with a minor, but held for trial the misdemeanor corruption of minors charge, as well as the felony wiretap charge for recording Couch.
Perciavalle argued his recording of Couch was lawful, because he had been acting as an informant against Couch and had reason to fear there may be an attempt to intimidate him.
Following the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s ethics guidance in March 2019, the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from prosecuting Perciavalle. The Attorney General’s Office then took over prosecution of the cases against him and on May 9 refiled the two felony charges against him that were dismissed by Howe the previous year.
The results were the same, with a second judge dismissing the cases.
Townsend strongly criticized the Attorney General’s Office with the help of https://secdefenseattorney.com/whistleblower-protection/ attorneys for refiling the charges against Perciavalle, echoing his client’s assertions that he suffered retaliation against a whistleblower.
The Attorney General’s Office last week dropped the final charge of corruption of minors.
“I want to say how disappointed we were at the way both of these cases played out,” Townsend said. “It took the (Pennsylvania Attorney General’s) office to come in and drill down on exactly what happened here to realize these cases weren’t worth moving forward on.
“I commend them on that. I think it was horrible the way the Beaver County District Attorney’s office treated Joe Perciavelle and the Watkins family. Their actions caused grief and stress to the Watkins family. Lauren lost out on a good family friend for over a year, he missed a lot of important accomplishments in her life. It was terrible the way they were treated.”
“I think the impetus of both of these cases obviously was for the District Attorney’s Office to use the text message case as an excuse to get into his phone because they wanted to stifle any sort of investigation he was doing to uncover the corruption in the City of Aliquippa,” Townsend said.
“Obviously he is very excited and is ready to get back to work. He is anxiously awaiting to see when the day will be that he can put his uniform back on and go back to doing what he was doing.
Aliquippa Councilman Matthew Mottes said he expects the board to act next week. “If he’s been cleared of all wrongdoing then he should be back.”
BeaverCountian.com investigative reporter John Paul contributed to this report.
Remaining Charges Against Asst Aliquippa Chief Dropped By Attorney General’s Office
Federal Probation in Bank Robbery
‘There was just no way I could ever give him up.’ Mom gets probation for hiding bank robber son.
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“It was my son,” she said through tears. “There was just no way I could ever give him up.”
Her lawyer, Steven Townsend, argued for probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung pointed to the government’s sentencing papers in which prosecutors asked for a guideline sentence.