- Associated Press - Friday, August 18, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio’s state auditor says a village’s former mayor has been convicted of theft in office.

Auditor Dave Yost said Thursday that former Mount Sterling Mayor Charles Neff was found guilty Wednesday in Madison County of falsification and dereliction of duty.

The auditor’s statement says an investigation found Neff approved excessive payouts for employee sick time and vacation pay that weren’t allowed or hadn’t been earned. Authorities also said Neff failed to credit 25 percent of village income tax revenue to the village’s capital improvement fund as required by village ordinance.

Neff’s attorney, Scott Mergenthaler, said Neff maintains his innocence. He says Neff was manipulated by a former village administrator now serving a 10-year prison sentence for stealing village funds.

Mount Sterling is about 24 miles (39 kilometers) southwest of Columbus.

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