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The Journal Gazette

  • Cooley

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 1:00 am

Democrats' ex-treasurer pleads guilty to stealing

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

A former treasurer of the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Party has pleaded guilty to stealing money from the political organization.

Tyler R. Cooley, 33, entered a guilty plea last month to a felony charge of theft in Kosciusko Circuit Court.

Cooley, of Markle, could face up to a year in prison as part of a plea agreement with the county prosecutor's office. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 22, according to court records.

The 3rd District Democratic Party accused Cooley of stealing more than $7,000 after an internal audit showed funds missing from a state election campaign account.

The theft charge was filed in Kosciusko County because the Democratic Party's bank account was at a Warsaw bank.

Days before Cooley was charged last February, the then-chairwoman of the Democratic Party sent a message to 270 party donors in the 12-county district telling them about the audit, a “discrepancy” in a party account and the beginning of voluntary restitution by an unnamed former treasurer.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Cooley admitted to a Noble County Sheriff's Department detective that he took the money between September 2015 and July 2016, which was the month he stepped down as party treasurer.