U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Baker has sentenced former Center Township Chief Financial Officer Alan Mizen to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $340,000 in public funds.
A federal investigation revealed that Mizen wrote himself a check for $343,541.08 in June 2010, but he recorded the check in the Center Township Trustee's Office accounting system as being made out to the "Treasurer of State."
Mizen used the money on a house in Zionsville, a Toyota Tacoma truck, vacations and a diamond necklace and ring. He continued spending the money through July 2012, a few months after the FBI, Indiana State Board of Accounts and IRS launched an investigation.
The missing funds will be repaid in full from Mizen-owned accounts the government froze as part of its investigation. Mizen agreed to plead guilty in late 2014.
"The citizens of Marion County deserve better from their public officials," U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a prepared statement Friday. "I hope this sends a loud and strong message to anyone who abuses the public trust in Indiana."
The Center Township Trustee’s Office has been under scrutiny in recent years over its financial management practices. And Mizen, 59, isn't the only Center Township official to face federal charges.
Critics have long complained the office spends too much money on overhead and personnel while providing few services. A state audit covering 2009 and 2010 found a number of Center Township employees, including Mizen, were heavily compensated from the township assistance fund but didn’t do any assistance-related work.
The auditors produced a supplemental report on Mizen’s pay, which totaled $173,236 in 2010, though his stated salary was $92,295. Mizen collected overtime, though he was in a salaried position, the report said. He also cashed out comp time and paid time off, against township rules, according to the report.
Mizen reported working more than 12 hours a day on 107 days in 2010.