Thurs. 9:50 pm: Theft case led to Infante indictment

NILES – Allegations of political corruption against the city’s former mayor revealed this week in a 56-count indictment came about when investigators with the Ohio Auditor’s Office were investigating the theft of more than $150,000 from the city by its former treasury clerk, according to a spokesperson with the auditor’s office.

Auditor Dave Yost’s office began investigating Phyllis Wilson, 64, after auditors in 2014 discovered missing money dating back to 2009.

“While (investigators) were (in Niles), witnesses made allegations against (Ralph Infante) to our investigators.We opened an investigation of the mayor at that time,” Ben Marrison, a spokesman for Yost’s office, said.

Infante, who was mayor of Niles from 1991 through 2015, is scheduled to be arraigned 1 p.m. Dec. 5 on 56 misdemeanor and felony charges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. Infante, 61, is accused of leading a political corruption network that involved theft in office, bribery, tampering with records, obstruction of justice and gambling.

Infante could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Wilson, 64, pleaded guilty in 2015 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to third-degree felony theft in office. She was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to hand over her $1,100 Ohio Public Employees Retirement System check to the city each month to repay the $142,272.

Read more in Friday’s Tribune Chronicle.