East Washington businessman George Retos Jr. was charged Tuesday by Peters Township police with accepting more than $87,000 in checks from his girlfriend’s mother and failing to repay the money, township police said.
Retos, 65, of 103 Lemoyne Ave., Washington, was arraigned before District Judge Valarie Costanzo Tuesday evening on charges of theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bond.
Police said at the end of July, Retos was given a $27,539 check by Dolores Calkusic, then of Peters Township, from a stock liquidation when one company merged with another. Calkusic told police Retos was to use the check to reinvest in the other company.
According to an affidavit filed in Costanzo’s office, Retos contacted Calkusic Aug. 21 and said he could not make the payroll at Prime Plastics, a business he managed in Washington. Initially, Retos asked Calkusic for $100,000 and said he would repay her by Aug. 24. She agreed to give him $60,000 and wrote him numerous checks.
The affidavit indicated Retos failed to repay any of the money even after repeated attempts by Calkusic to contact him. She told police she saw Retos at The Meadows Casino Dec. 23, when she again asked him to repay the money. The affidavit states Retos has repeatedly “stalled and made excuses as to why he has not paid her,” including that his bank accounts were frozen. At the casino, Retos said he would pay the money back by Jan. 30.
She contacted Peters Township police Jan. 10.
When interviewed by police March 1, Retos said he deposited all of the money into the Prime Plastics account and treated it as a loan to Prime Plastics. He said the Internal Revenue Service placed a lien on all Prime Plastics accounts Sept. 11, and the IRS seized all of the money in the accounts.
Police said the original $27,539 was deposited in Retos’ account and was withdrawn over the next three days. Police said the investigation found very little of the $60,000 given to Retos was used to meet payroll. Much of the money, police said, was used for cash withdrawals and to pay expenses.
Retos, a former attorney, was convicted in 1993 on federal charges of tax evasion, mail fraud, transfer of a stolen security and bank fraud. He served time in a federal prison.
In 2011, Retos went to court to stop Washington School District from bidding on his East Washington home at a sheriff’s sale for owing thousands in unpaid taxes. The school district hoped to buy the property and resell it to recoup its lost tax revenue. School district solicitor Ken Baker said a judge ruled against Retos in November and found that more than $51,000 was owed. Retos appealed the ruling to Commonwealth Court, where it is still pending.