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3News Investigates: Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins charged with attempted fraud, theft

Charges related to elections fraud have been filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio — Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins has been named in a bill of information alleging attempted election fraud and attempted theft in office, according to court records filed this week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas.

Oftentimes, when a bill of information is filed, it indicates the person is cooperating and is expected to enter a plea to the charges.

He is charged with two counts of attempted election falsification and one count of attempted theft in office. 

The charges were filed March 24 by Franklin County prosecutors, who handled the investigation due to Elkins' deep connection to local politics.

All charges are first-degree misdemeanors that carry a maximum of six months each in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Elkins, 49, made his first court appearance in the case Thursday morning in which he pleaded not guilty as bond was set at $1,500. His first pretrial is set for April 14 at 9 a.m.

The charges stem from an Ohio Elections Commission investigation in April of 2021 when the board voted to refer Elkins' conduct for prosecution based on allegations that he used more than $134,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

Elkins has previously told elections officials that he routinely used his campaign funds for personal expenses. The alleged offenses date back to 2017.

He has also claimed ignorance of the law, saying he was unaware candidates could not mix personal and campaign funds. He’s insisted in the past that he always repaid his campaign for any funds used for personal expenses and that no money is missing from his account.

In a text message seeking comment, Elkins refused to say whether he would resign.

He told 3News Investigates that  "there will be an appropriate moment for a statement. This is not that moment."

He promised to provide "a full and transparent statement on this issue" at a later date.

Elkins, who has mayor since 2011, has been a major player in local Democratic party politics and in 2018 failed in an effort to unseat then-party chair Shontel Brown.

You can read the court filing below:

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