WAYNE TOWNSHIP, Ind. — Four Wayne Township former and current employees and officials have pleaded guilty on Monday after knowingly or intentionally profiting off a contract between the Wayne Township Fire Department and a nonprofit that was organized to financially support the fire department.
The guilty pleas come in the wake of an audit by the Indiana Board of Accounts that accused the same four individuals of misappropriating funds and finding that the township owed taxpayers more than $350,000.
Wayne Township Trustee Chuck Jones Jr., current fire chief Michael Lang, former fire chief Randy Adams and Wayne Township employee James Parham all plead guilty to one count of conflict of interest, a Level 6 felony, and were sentenced on Monday.
According to the plea deals, none will serve any jail time. Jones, Randy, and Lang, however, were ordered to pay $31,939 in restitution while Parham was ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution. Parham was also sentenced to 363 days on probation.
According to the audit report, the Wayne Township employees were accused of profiting off a contract between the township and the Wayne Township Fire Department, Inc, a nonprofit created in 1954. The Indiana State Board of Accounts stated that these transactions occurred throughout 2019, 2020, and 2021. All four men were members of the nonprofit fire corporation board and were also township employees or officials during this time period.
The audit report stated the nonprofit fire corporation was organized for the purpose of providing financial support to the WTFD but instead the WTFD provided funds to the fire corporation.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office also conducted an investigation into the matter and released the following statement:
“The resolution of this investigation makes the residents of Wayne Township financially whole while holding those accountable for their actions. According to Indiana law, Mr. Jones will no longer be eligible to serve in elected office.”