FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 27, 2012
For Information Contact:
Former ANC Commissioner Pleads Guilty to Fraud,
Admits Misuse of More Than $28,000 in Government Funds
- Community Leader Used Money for Personal Expenses -
WASHINGTON - William Shelton, 42, a community leader in Northeast Washington, pled guilty today to a federal charge of access device fraud for using more than $28,000 in District of Columbia government funding, intended for the community, for his own personal expenses.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Charles J. Willoughby, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.
Shelton pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Beryl A. Howell scheduled sentencing for May 4, 2012. The charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison, as well as a potential fine and order of restitution. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range would be six to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Under the plea agreement, Shelton must pay $28,526 in restitution to the District of Columbia government and forfeit proceeds of his crime.
According to a statement of offense signed by the government as well as the defendant, Shelton is the former chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) in Ward 5B of the District of Columbia. The D.C. government provides funds to ANCs each year to serve public purposes in the specific ANC area and to help pay for the functioning of the ANC office. Each ANC is permitted to establish a checking account, and any expenditures must be signed by at least two officers of the ANC, one of whom must be the treasurer or chairperson.
Shelton obtained a debit card for the ANC’s bank account, and knowingly used it for personal expenses with the intent to defraud the ANC.
From August 2010 through March 2011, Shelton used the debit card to make approximately 120 cash withdrawals, obtaining $27,129.85 in ANC funds. In addition, between February 2010 and February 2011, he used the debit card to pay directly for a total of $1,396.36 in purchases. None of the withdrawals or direct purchases were approved by the ANC or recorded in its books and records as required by law. All of the money was used by Shelton for personal expenditures.
“With today’s guilty plea, William Shelton became the latest city official to be held accountable for ripping off D.C. taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “There is no excuse for using the public treasury as a personal slush fund. We will continue our aggressive press against public officials who abuse the trust we place in them.”
“Mr. Shelton violated the trust of taxpayers by using government money for his own personal use,” said Assistant Director McJunkin. “His illegal conduct is deeply disappointing to our citizens and to the vast majority of elected officials who carry out their duties in an honest and ethical manner.”
“Today’s plea is demonstrative of how the Office of the Inspector General not only works to safeguard the interests of the District and its citizenry, but how it continues to work together with the Office of the United States Attorney in this worthy and rewarding endeavor,” stated Inspector General Willoughby. “I am and will continue to be proud of the role that the Office of the Inspector General plays in this regard.”
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin and Inspector General Willoughby praised the work of those who investigated the case, including the Special Agents of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Special Agent Alexander H. Zion II, of the Office of the Inspector General. They also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Shanna Hays, Legal Assistant Krishawn Graham, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Sroka of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Fitzpatrick, of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, who is prosecuting the matter.