Former Center Township official charged with theft, embezzlement

Al Mizen
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Former Center Township Chief Financial Officer Alan Mizen faces charges of theft and embezzlement, U.S. attorney Joe Hogsett announced Tuesday.

Dorshea Lester and her son were at the Center Township Trustee's Office Tuesday afternoon, hoping for financial aid from the poor relief fund.

"There is a lot of people out here that need help. They should not be in that category of taking money from the help for the needy," said Lester, a homeless mother.

But Federal prosecutors say that's what Mizen did.

Mizen served as the township's chief financial officer from 2001 to 2011. He's accused of setting up an account and depositing a check for over $340,000 drawn from public funds, and creating a false invoice indicating he'd written the check to "treasurer of the state."

From that point, Mizen, who lives in Zionsville, is accused of transferring those funds to various personal accounts - and then using $200,000 to buy a home in Zionsville, along with a Toyota Tacoma, family vacations, diamond jewelry and even his child's college tuition.

"That's just wrong. I mean, that's wrong. That's supposed to be here to help people," said Lester's friend, Justin Prince, who waited with her outside the trustee's office.

Documents show Mizen's family has three properties in Zionsville, including a home office. The sign out front says the accountant is taking new clients. Tenants at a rental down the road say they're surprised, that Mizen seemed like a straight up guy.

Federal authorities seized Mizen's vehicle, along with a diamond ring and bracelet purchased in the Cayman Islands for $8,900. Mizen is prohibited from transferring his interest in the real estate until the criminal case is resolved.

Eyewitness News tried to reach Mizen at his house, but no one answered the door.

An audit from the State Board of Accounts cited questionable items related to his compensation to the tune of about $171,000.

"Frankly, my sadness comes from what this money could have been used for. For public purposes," Hogsett said.

For people like Dorshea Lester and her son, who hopes the charges will get the ball rolling for herself and others to get some help from the fund.

"Shouldn't steal from nobody. Thou shalt not steal," she said.