The former parks and recreation director for the city of Waupaca has been convicted of felony theft. Jim Ash entered a no contest plea in Waupaca County Circuit Court on Thursday, to the charge of theft from a business setting in excess of ten thousand dollars. The 47 year-old Ash was accused of transferring nearly $150,000, meant for purchases through his department for recreational organizations, into a personal account from 2005 through May of 2010 when he resigned from the position. Ash headed the department for 20 years.
In the criminal complaint, Ash pointed to mounting personal debt as the reason for taking the funds. In a prepared statement, city officials said they were disappointed to learn of the theft of city funds, and have since revamped the way cash and payments are handled, and have implemented a fraud reporting policy to guide city employees.
Sentencing for Ash is scheduled for June 29th, which should allow attorneys to come to agreement on a restitution amount. Ash was released on a $2000 signature bond pending the signature hearing.
Jack Barry, WDUX