Waupaca’s former parks and recreation director will spend three years behind bars for stealing money from the city. That, along with five years extended supervision, was the sentence for 47-year-old Jim Ash that was handed down by Waupaca County Circuit Court Judge Phil Kirk on Wednesday. Kirk went beyond the prosecution’s recommendation in the length of the sentence.
Ash had earlier pleaded no contest to felony theft for taking money from city recreation accounts since 2005. Investigators say Ash took more than $170,000 as he tried to meet family financial obligations.
Prior to the sentence being handed down, Ash apologized to his family and the city.
Assistant District Attorney Vicki Claussen recommended a prison term to be imposed and stayed, with Ash being placed on probation for a period of four years and serving a year in the County Jail. But Judge Kirk said the length and breadth of the thefts warranted prison time.
Kirk also ordered Ash, upon his release, to visit area high schools to talk to students about what he did and his experience behind bars. Ash was taken into custody following the hearing.