By Ogozi John
Former bank director of the defunct Metropolitan Savings Bank, Michael Bernick, 51, who is standing trial for fraud charges, has been ordered by a federal judge to cease from having any further contact with David Hays, his estranged friend and Wendy Yurko, a government witness, due to a number of threatening messages he sent to them.
Reports from the US Attorney’s office states that in early October, barely a week after he was convicted of fraud, Bernick sent four text messages containing threats to Hays, a former friend and plumber who worked on his rental properties in Stanton Heights, Pittsburgh and also to Yurko, a government witness in the trial.
Aside from the texts, Ms. Yurko also reported to federal agents that Bernick followed her adult daughter, driving in his pickup truck, while the girl was walking to her grandmother’s house. He “glared” at her in an attempt to intimidate the young lady.
Bernick is charged with defrauding the Metropolitan Savings Bank in Lawrenceville of $336,000 along with the former vice president of the defunct bank, Donna Shebetich, 49, a co-defendant in the case. While Shebetich has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to her charges, Bernick is awaiting his sentencing hearing, scheduled for early next year.
From now until he is sentenced, U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab ordered that Bernick is to cease all communications attempts and have no contact with Mr. Hays and Ms. Yurko or any other person connected to the trial.