Former Niles auditor Charles Nader pleads guilty to reduced charges, agrees to testify in Ralph Infante trial

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Former Niles auditor agrees to testify in Ralph Infante trial

By Ed Runyan


Former Niles auditor Charles Nader pleaded guilty to reduced charges Wednesday in the public-corruption case of former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante and has agreed to testify at Infante’s trial.

Nader, 64, of Washington Street in Niles, stood before Visiting Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove of Summit County in the Trumbull County Courthouse as he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft in office and two misdemeanor ethics charges.

The felony charge relates to his use of a city computer and server system while operating his private tax-preparation business.

The ethics charges relate to him doing tax work for two vendors who did or sought to do business with the city, according to his plea agreement.

Nader could get up to 12 months in prison on the theft-in-office charge and could get another six months in the county jail on each of the ethics charges. He also could get probation.

He will be sentenced at 11 a.m. May 11 after the county’s adult probation department conducts a pre-sentence investigation of his background.

Judge Cosgrove clarified during Nader’s plea hearing that Nader is not being asked to make restitution.

“The defendant is not pleading guilty to stealing money from the city of Niles,” said Dan Kasaris of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Kasaris is the special prosecutor in the Infante case.

Nader was indicted on four felony counts and five misdemeanors.

The felonies were theft, two counts of tampering with records and one count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract. The misdemeanors included making false statements to two state auditors and accepting compensation from a company that was “seeking to do business” with the city.

Nader was Niles auditor from 2006 to 2015. He resigned in September 2015, a few months before his term was to have expired and nearly a year after the city was declared in fiscal emergency by the state auditor.

Infante, 62, who was Niles mayor 24 years until the end of 2015, is facing 41 criminal counts, and his wife, Judy, 68, is facing seven counts of tampering with records.

She’s accused of failing to report – and trying to conceal – “income from gambling and other sources.”

The indictments allege Ralph Infante illegally received nearly $200,000 in unreported cash, income and gifts, some of it to provide people with jobs with the city.

The allegations date back to the beginning of his first term as mayor in 1992.

The trial of Ralph and Judy Infante is scheduled before Judge Cosgrove for 10 a.m. April 23 in common pleas court.

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