ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- The former mayor of a small town in southeast Ohio must pay back more than $19,000 after pleading guilty to theft in office.
A judge in Athens County also ordered George Pallo, the former mayor of Jacksonville, to never hold public office again.
The 56-year-old apologized in court on Friday.
Pallo stepped down from his office two weeks ago after serving as mayor for more than 30 years.
Authorities say he deposited money designated for the village into a fire fund and used some of the money for personal use. They say he also opened a credit card in the village's name without authorization and bought a lawn mower.
The Athens County Prosecutors says that George Pallo, 56, of Jacksonville, Ohio, was charged with a Bill of Information in Athens County Common Pleas Court.
Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says that Mr. Pallo allegedly took funds designated for the village and deposited it in the Jacksonville Fire fund, and then used some of those funds for his personal use. Blackburn says the allegations took place from January 1, 2011 through December 2012.
“Mr. Pallo opened a credit card in the Village of Jacksonville’s name without authorization to purchase a lawn mower while indicating to Village officials that he had used money from the Jacksonville Fire fund 501(C)3 fund for the purchase.
The Village owes over $5,000.00 for the lawnmower.
Mr. Pallo then wrote checks to “cash” out of the fund and used the money, some for legitimate expenses and some for personal expenses.
The total theft is over $19,000,” said Blackburn.
Pallo resigned as mayor on Tuesday after nearly 30 years in office.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Investigative Unit with assistance from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.