The trial for the Carlisle borough tax collector accused of selling undercover officers marijuana was rescheduled on Monday.
George T. Hicks Jr., 21, was arrested on two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance, and an injunction was filed against him by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to relieve him of his tax-collecting duties and transfer those responsibilities back to the borough.
While the injunction was upheld, Hicks remains tax collector in name and continues to be paid until the criminal proceedings have been dealt with.
Hicks’ attorney Karl Rominger called it a “win-win-win” situation because his client will continue to be paid, won’t have to do any work, and taxpayers will be assured that the collection of their funds is being handled in a professional capacity by the Borough of Carlisle.
The rescheduling, which came in the form of a continuance, was granted by Judge Thomas Placey on Monday due to evidentiary issues raised by the Commonwealth. While the next week for trials is set to begin March 18, the case’s docket information didn’t contain an updated schedule as of late Monday.
Rominger said information in the borough’s audit of Hicks’ bookkeeping would become relevant to the drug trial.
“When asserting my defensive entrapment to the Commonwealth, they realized that, as you know there is a separate financial investigation ongoing for Mr. Hicks, they realized that some of the material gathered in that investigation would become relevant in trial, and so now we both need to review to see does it bolster or hurt my defense,” Rominger said.
The second investigation to which Rominger was alluding is a financial investigation into Hicks’ activities while tax collector.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, an audit of the records was conducted after they were turned over and 19 taxpayers provided receipts of cash payments for 2012 of $20,000.
The audit showed no record of the money being received or posted in Hicks’ records or bank accounts.
Further, according to the audit, the whereabouts of the money is still unknown and a year-to-date comparison showed cash collections down $50,846 in 2012.
“Now we have to go back to the well,” Rominger said. “I just want to be clear that it was not the government’s fault or intention. Perhaps if I had run with a slightly different defense, it might have not even become relevant.”
Hicks was arrested after undercover officers with the Carlisle Police Department conducted an investigation into his alleged drug trafficking activities.
According to county District Attorney David Freed, the Carlisle Police Department was alerted to the activities through street intelligence and tips from other law-enforcement agencies.
Two undercover buys were conducted, with recorded phone calls and video surveillance of the transactions and Hicks was then arrested.
Posted earlier on Cumberlink.com:
The trial for Carlisle tax collector George Hicks Jr.'s drug charges scheduled for today was continued until March.
Hicks faces drug possession and delivery charges after undercover police officers set up a sale sting and arrested Hicks outside of his tax collector office in downtown Carlisle in early August.
Hicks' lawyer Karl Rominger said the trial was continued because of evidentiary matters.