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Two former county employees indicted on extortion charges

July 23, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

Two former Washington County employees were indicted last week on charges of extortion by a public official, Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said Monday morning during a press conference at the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Both employees were fired from their jobs with the Washington County Department of Water Quality earlier this year, Michael said.

The indictments allege that James Ernest Bishop, Jr., 61, of Williamsport, former water quality deputy director, convinced two companies performing work locally to give him laser survey levels worth more than $500 each.

Michael alleged that both incidents involved Bishop suggesting that the companies give him the levels to avoid costly excavations of work that had already been completed.

"Mr. Bishop's superior position put contractors at a disadvantage," Michael said.

Jeffrey L. Shetron, 48, of Abbottstown, Pa., former water quality project coordinator, attempted to convince W.F. Delauter & Sons to give him a gasoline-powered generator worth more than $500, according to allegations in the indictment.

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Shetron pointed out that the company needed his approval for future projects, Michael said.

An internal investigation preceded the criminal probe, Michael said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department began investigating in late spring or early summer of this year, Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said.

Both men were allowed to go to the sheriff's department to be processed on the charges, Mullendore said.

A conviction on extortion charges carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.

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