An elected official who stole $30,000 from D.C. taxpayers and spent it on a luxury car and designer clothes will have to repay the money — without penalty — at a rate of $200 a month, according to a settlement announced Thursday by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.
The D.C. auditor in June determined that William Shelton withdrew $30,000 from an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5B account and spent it on payments for a Lexus and purchases at Bloomingdale’s. Mr. Shelton was chairman of the ANC in Ward 5, one of 37 lightly scrutinized boards of elected officials.
“I believe this is a fair resolution of the situation. Mr. Shelton is no longer in a position to access public funds and he is obligated to repay what he improperly took,” D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said in an e-mail to the Washington Times.
Mr. Nathan said his office took into account that Mr. Shelton and his attorney cooperated with the investigation and did not require the city to expend resources investigating and litigating the case.
“What was his reason for not going after treble damages?” Mr. Wells asked.
The settlement does not preclude separate criminal action against Mr. Shelton, but he has not faced criminal charges in the months since the money went missing and he resigned from his seat on the ANC, of which he was chairman.
A U.S. attorney’s office spokesman said it would not confirm or deny an investigation, but sources said the office was looking into the case.
The D.C. attorney general's office can only prosecute misdemeanor criminal cases.
There was no indication the settlement contained any other provisions, such as barring Mr. Shelton from running again for office.
In the meantime, Mr. Shelton does not appear to have stepped back from local politics.
Vaughn Bennett, an ANC5B commissioner, said Mr. Shelton’s signature and the signatures of four other people who listed his address as their residence topped the nominating petition of an associate of Mr. Shelton’s who sought to replace him in office.
Mr. Shelton did not return a call for comment.
Critics say the settlement is one of a series of seemingly weak recent enforcement actions from the attorney general's office, particularly concerning allegations of public corruption in Ward 5.View Entire Story
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Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at email@example.com.
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