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Former Scranton cop sentenced for overtime fraud

A former Scranton Police Officer will serve jail time after being paid for overtime shifts he claimed he worked.

Paul Helring, who was at one-time the president of the city’s police union, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to 6 months imprisonment and two years supervised release.

From March 2021 to May 2022 Helring served as coordinator of Scranton Police Department’s extra duty overtime program, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. During that time, he reported that he worked an extra 526 hours patrolling lower-income housing complexes — but he did not.

Helring pleaded guilty in January for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. The Scranton Housing Authority used federal funding to pay for the extra-duty police patrols.

The former cop, who retired on a disability pension in 2022, was ordered to pay almost $18,000 in restitution and a $5,000 fine. Helring was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service as a condition of his supervised release.

The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance by the Office of Inspector General within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffery St John and Phillip J. Caraballo prosecuted the case.

Former Scranton Police Sgt. Jeffrey Vaughn was also charged and sentenced for the same crime.