Updated Fri, Jan 18, 2013 12:00 pm
A man who led the village of Jacksonville for more than 30 years is no longer allowed to hold public office after he pleaded guilty to theft in office and grand theft charges against him.
George Pallo appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court Friday in front of Judge Michael Ward and entered a guilty plea to the four felony counts in exchange for a plea agreement.
Pallo resigned as the village's mayor last week after being accused of stealing $19,785 between 2011 and 2012.
According to prosecutors, twice Pallo took money intended for the village and deposited it into the VFW charity, opened a credit card which he later used for personal gain and wrote checks from the village's fire fund and cashed them for himself.
Pallo is sentenced to five years of community control, must pay restitution of the money stolen and cannot ever hold public office again.
"I put a lot of years in there and had some tough times," said Pallo during a statement to Judge Ward. "I hope with yours and God's forgiveness, I can go on and get my health and get everything straightened up."
According to Pallo's attorney, the former mayor took money from village accounts in order to prevent the foreclosure of his home after suffering a loss in family income.
The local VFW chapter has revoked his social membership and asked he have no contact with the organization.
The plea agreement allows the village of Jacksonville to avoid a costly special audit.