- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2012

An elected official who stole nearly $30,000 in D.C. taxpayer funds was sentenced to 15 weekends in jail Friday.

William Shelton, who resigned as chairman of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) in Northeast last summer, will also serve 150 days of home confinement. He is obligated to pay back the money he stole plus a penalty of the same amount.

In 2010 and last year, Shelton used an ANC debit card to make 120 cash withdrawals and to make payments on a Lexus and purchases at retailers such as Bloomingdale’s. His scheme ended only when the ANC’s bank account had $7.11 remaining.

William Shelton is a serial embezzler,” U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen said in a statement. “He took cash out of a taxpayer-funded account for his personal use more than 100 times. Other public officials who are thinking of exploiting their positions of trust should take a hard look at Mr. Shelton’s conviction and sentence.”

In December, D.C. officials voted to give Shelton’s ANC, ANC5B in Ward 5, $15,000 from an insurance fund to replace the stolen money.

After a lengthy investigation, The Washington Times in September reported how broken enforcement mechanisms leave virtually no way of punishing rulebreaking by ANC members. Because they are elected officials, multiple enforcement agencies passed the buck, saying that the ultimate recourse was to vote them out. In many neighborhood commissions, the representatives run unopposed and conduct business with little public attention.