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Former Mt. Sterling Mayor Sentenced for Role in Theft
Columbus – Former Mt. Sterling Mayor Charles Neff was sentenced this morning to 30 days in jail, three years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in restitution for his role in approving improper leave payouts in the Madison County Village.
“Justice has prevailed at the Village of Mt. Sterling,” Auditor Yost said. “Unscrupulous public servants across the state should heed warning that any misdeeds will be prosecuted, and victims will be made whole in a court of law.”
A jury convicted Neff on Aug. 16 of theft in office and falsification directing an overpayment to former Village Administrator Joseph Johnson for $9,530 worth of sick leave in excess of what Johnson was entitled to receive.
Neff also was convicted of dereliction of duty for failing to credit 25 percent of village income tax revenue to the village’s capital improvement fund as required by village ordinance.
Retired Greene County Judge J. Timothy Campbell handed down the sentence, which requires Neff to report to the Tri-County Regional Jail on Jan. 2 for the start of his jail sentence. He was ordered to pay $9,530 in restitution to the village.
An investigation by the Auditor of State’s office and local law enforcement into Johnson’s crimes led to the conviction of Neff and three other village officials, including Johnson.
Johnson was sentenced in March to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $724,000 from the village to buy vehicles, auto parts, TVs and other items for his personal use between 2012 and 2016.
The village was declared to be in fiscal emergency by Auditor Yost on June 22.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.