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Archive for Sunday, February 12, 2006

Coroner pleads not guilty to fraud, theft

February 12, 2006

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— A coroner who consulted on the death cases of Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges alleging he used his government staff for private gain.

Dr. Cyril Wecht was arraigned on 84 counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, theft of honest services and theft from the Allegheny County coroner's office.

An indictment issued Jan. 20 accuses Wecht of using government employees or resources to run private errands and do laboratory work for his private company between 1996 and December 2005.

Prosecutors also say Wecht bilked his private clients by overcharging them and using fake travel agency bills to cover his tracks.

Wecht, 74, has denied doing private work on county time. He resigned from his government job after the indictment.

Wecht did not speak after the brief court hearing, and his attorneys declined to discuss the case.

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