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Former D.C. ANC official pleads guilty to fraud charge

- The Washington Times - Friday, January 27, 2012

A former D.C. advisory neighborhood commissioner pleaded guilty Friday to a felony fraud count in connection with the theft of $30,000 in taxpayer money, the U.S. attorney's office said.

William C. Shelton, 42, faces a maximum 10 years in prison, as well as a potential fine and order of restitution when he is sentenced May 4. Prosecutors said the likely sentence would be between six months and a year in prison, restitution and a fine of up to $20,000.

Shelton pleaded guilty to one count of access-device fraud for obtaining an ATM card, against D.C. regulations, which he used to withdraw cash from the account of the ANC for which he served as chairman. He spent the money on Lexus payments, at Bloomingdale's and elsewhere between 2010 and 2011.

The board of elected neighborhood representatives is in Ward 5, whose former council member, Harry Thomas Jr., this month pleaded guilty to stealing city money.

Shelton last month separately signed a settlement with the District's attorney general, in which he agreed to repay the money to the city at a rate of $200 per month.

Shelton was the longtime top official of ANC 5B, one of 37 boards of elected officials that offer guidance to city regulators on matters such as liquor licenses, zoning and parking. Each also receives a budget it can use to award grants to community nonprofits, with $2 million in ANC bank accounts in all.

"There is no excuse for using the public treasury as a personal slush fund," said U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald C. Machen Jr. "We will continue our aggressive press against public officials who abuse the trust we place in them."

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