UPDATE: The result of Novak and Bonetti's formal arraignment is a pretrial conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse scheduled for Feb. 15.
District Judge Robert Wyda waived for court on Friday all 24 combined charges against Becks Run firefighters Leonard "Len" Novak and Stephen Bonetti, pushing their case onto a formal arraignment at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Jan. 8.
Wyda, the magistrate for Upper St. Clair Township and Bethel Park, oversaw Novak and Bonetti's preliminary hearing because District Judge John N. Bova of Baldwin Borough has recused himself from their case.
A judge may recuse him or herself from a case should he or she feel a conflict of interest with any of the participating parties, or have some other legitimate reason.
Novak and Bonetti, chief and deputy chief, respectively, of the Becks Run Volunteer Fire Department, were charged in August with misusing approximately $25,000 from the Pennsylvania firemen's relief fund over an approximately five-year period.
According to an affidavit, investigators believe that Novak and Bonetti misappropriated the money by using it instead for personal expenses, including the cashing of checks at C.J. Chugs bar on Custer Avenue and Dean's Beer Distributors on Joseph Street.
Novak is charged with three counts of theft by deception; one count of receiving stolen property; two counts of unlawful use of a computer; one count of criminal conspiracy; two counts of forgery; three counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence; two counts of theft by failure to make a required disposition of funds received; and three counts of tampering with records or identification.
Bonetti is charged with two counts of theft by deception; one count of criminal conspiracy; one count of misapplication of entrusted property and property of government or financial institutions; two counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence; and one count of obstructing administration of law or other government function.
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