Former township CFO pleads guilty in public theft case

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A former chief financial officer for Center Township in Indianapolis plans to plead guilty to federal public corruption charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday afternoon.

Alan S. Mizen, 59, was arrested at his Zionsville home in July in connection with the theft of more than $340,000 from the township, where he worked as CFO from November 2001 through January 2011.

In his plea, Mizen agreed to pay restitution of $343,541 to Center Township. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison, pay a $250,000 fine and serve three years of federal supervised release.

No sentencing date has been set.

Court documents say Mizen set up an account with PNC Bank in June 2010 and deposited a check for $343,541.08 drawn from public funds. He then used the computerized accounting system at the Center Township office to create a false invoice indicating that he had written the check to the “Treasurer of State.”

Mizen proceeded to transfer the funds he deposited into personal accounts, using $200,000 to help purchase a $500,000 home in Zionsville. He also purchased a 2009 Toyota Tacoma pickup, spent $14,274.89 to help fund his child’s college education and bought a diamond necklace and diamond ring totaling $8,900 during a trip to the Cayman Islands, the complaint said.

The pickup and jewelry were seized, and Mizen was prohibited from transferring his interest in the home. More than $385,000 has been recovered from an investment account. The seized assets will be used to pay the restitution amount.

"The public deserves to have public officials whom they can trust to do the right thing,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “When that trust is betrayed, be assured, the United States Attorney’s Office will hold them accountable. The agreement and charges filed today accomplish that goal.”

Minkler gave credit to law enforcement work by the FBI, Indiana State Board of Accounts and the Internal Revenue Service for catching Mizen.

The Center Township Trustee’s Office has been under scrutiny in recent years over its financial management practices. 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.

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