Former Cafaro aide guilty

Wike pleads in theft case

WARREN — A former aide to State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, pleaded guilty Thursday to  one count each of grand theft and theft from a person in a protected class during a hearing before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice.

The plea headed off a Nov. 14 trial.

Jonathan M. Wike Jr. 30, 1825 Stepney St., Niles, is accused of writing seven fraudulent checks totaling $4,315. One of the fraudulent checks was for $508 and taken from Cafaro’s personal account. The account was set up to pay expenses at Cafaro’s campaign office.

Wike Jr., a former Young Democrats president who had volunteered for Cafaro’s first campaign in 2004, was fired in July 2015, shortly after the senator learned of the investigation. He served as director in Cafaro’s district office and made $35,000 a year, which was taken out of Cafaro’s salary as a senator.

Police from Cortland, Howland and Vienna listed Wike as a suspect in a series of incidents involving the cashing of bad checks at Seven Seventeen Credit Union locations in those communities in June 2015.

He could face up to four-and-a-half years in prison. A pre-sentencing investigation is being done by the Adult Probation Department.