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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Former ASA director faces prison, restitution for theft”

    A former Arizona Students’ Association executive director was taken into sheriff’s custody yesterday after pleading guilty to one count each of theft and forgery for stealing nearly $200,000 worth of organization funds.

    Maceo Brown agreed to a prosecutor’s deal and will likely spend one year and three months in state prison.

    The sentence was dependent on Brown’s payment of $79,926.88 in restitution to ASA and creditors over the course of seven years’ probation after his release, said ASA attorney Ryan W. Anderson.

    “”This is a very serious punishment for Mr. Brown,”” said Anderson. “”But I believe he will make the restitution and pay everyone back.””

    ASA officials filed a civil suit against Brown in April, when an examination of financial records showed that he had been siphoning funds from ASA accounts for four years and doctoring statements to cover his tracks.

    Criminal proceedings against Brown were filed by state prosecutors when the case was handed over to the state attorney general’s office by ASA and Anderson.

    ASA plans to drop those civil matters after Brown repays an additional $60,000 within the next month – a condition that could result in the typical sentence of 7 1/2 years being imposed if he balks, Anderson said.

    Anderson persuaded creditors to drop nearly $54,000 in inappropriate charges accumulated by Brown at the outset of the case, which granted relief to ASA’s operating budget, said Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog.

    “”I’m very pleased with the outcome,”” Hertzog said. “”It just shows that this type of situation is not going to be tolerated. It’s rare that these types of cases are able to be resolved in favor of the victim.””

    ASA has already enacted procedures to prevent misuse of funds in the future, including the oversight of a financial committee, internal audits and the addition of an alumni position that provides continuity to avoid turnover issues, Hertzog said.

    “”Otherwise, we’re going to be continuing as normal, advocating for students,”” Hertzog said. “”If there’s any additional impropriety, we will pursue it with the same aggressiveness and diligence as we did with this case.””

    The outcome was satisfactory for ASA particularly in light of the funds that would be returned to the budget, said Serena Unrein, acting director of ASA.

    “”We’re pleased that there’s a resolution in both cases – civil and criminal – and that a significant portion will be recovered,”” said Unrein.

    Brown’s sentencing hearing, where he can present mitigating factors, is set for Nov. 7 before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Keppel.

    “”It’s not a done deal what’s going to happen,”” said Assistant State Attorney General Ted Noyes. “”I think there’s a strong likelihood it will come out that way, but it will be the judge’s call.””

    Theft of more than $25,000 is a class 2 felony and can result in three to 12 years in prison. Forgery, which is a class 4 felony, may result in one to three years.

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