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Former Lawrence Township Police Chief Sentenced for Theft in Office
Columbus – Former Lawrence Township Police Chief Paul Stanley was sentenced to a total of 90 days in jail today after pleading guilty in August to the theft of nearly $24,000 from the police department’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The sentence was handed down in in Stark County Common Pleas Court.
Stanley is accused of stealing the money in installments between May 2013 and April 2015 and depositing it into two bank accounts he controlled, including the account for P&S Gun Sales, his private firearms business. In addition to his guilty plea to a felony count of theft in office, he already has paid restitution of $23,857.90.
“It is always appalling when a trusted official steals from the government,” said Auditor of State Dave Yost. “The court has sent a strong message that such acts will result in just punishment.”
Stanley’s sentence includes 60 days in jail plus an additional 30 days of “day jail” in which he will spend part of each day in jail but not stay overnight. He also was sentenced to two years of community control sanctions, 200 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine. If he violates the terms of the sentence, he faces an 18-month prison term.
Township officials first started to look into Stanley’s handling of the police fund after receiving conflicting information from Stanley about the balance in the account. In June 2016, they sent a formal letter to Stanley requesting all records of the trust fund. That request and two subsequent ones went unfulfilled, leading township trustees to put Stanley on administrative leave. Trustees voted to terminate his employment on Sept. 26, 2016.
To avoid a conflict of interest, the Stark County prosecutor invited the Auditor’s office to investigate and prosecute the case. Stephanie Anderson of the Auditor of State’s Public Integrity Assurance Team, prosecuted the case against Stanley.
Click here to view an interactive map of all 139 convictions resulting from Auditor of State work since Auditor Yost took office in 2011.
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.