Former Niles auditor pleads not guilty to theft charges - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Former Niles auditor pleads not guilty to theft charges

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WARREN, Ohio -

Former Niles auditor Charles Nader has pleaded not guilty to charges including theft in office, tampering with records and falsification. 

Nader was indicted last month by a Trumbull County Grand Jury in connection with the corruption case against former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante and his wife, Judith.

Nader was added to the case alleging that the Infantes deposited nearly $200,000 into a local bank over a seven-year span and failed to report it as income.

Investigators say that Nader used city owned computers to conduct business for his tax-preparation company and that he failed to report income for clients. 

A superseding indictment handed up by the Trumbull County Grand Jury as Infante appeared in court for a pretrial hearing in August, dropped charges filed earlier against former city employee Scott Schaffer.

Sources tell 21 News that Schaffer may testify for the prosecution in the case.

Infante is accused of running a gambling operation that bet on the Super Bowl, March Madness, NCAA basketball and some College Bowl games. Investigators allege that the profits he collected were never reported.

The operation was allegedly conducted from Infante's Niles home and the ITAM club in Girard.

The state says Infante, who lost re-election in 2015, tried to cover up his alleged crimes by tampering with records.

Allegations in a bill of particulars characterize Infante as using his position as Mayor to sell city jobs, do favors for friends and take money in return.

It's also alleged that Infante allowed a Niles business to skirt $40,000 in permit fees. And the Eastwood Field in Niles received free water for 14 years - a $60,000 loss in revenue to the city of Niles.

Among the tampering with record charges, the state alleges Infante improperly awarded a bid for city work to a long-time friend, over the objections of Niles City Council.

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