FLORENCE, AZ (5/30/14) – This morning, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles announced Charles “Chale” Vega, 38 of Hayden, entered a plea of guilty to one count of Attempted Fraudulent Schemes and Practices, a Class 6 Designated Felony, on May 19, 2014.
In late-2012, the Town of Hayden requested assistance from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office investigating a potential theft of $850 dollars, which was raised during a dance fundraiser and intended to benefit the Town of Hayden Fire Department.
According to the Probable Cause Statement, GCSO suspected Vega, the then Fire Chief and now Mayor of Hayden, of stealing the money and indicated he offered a chainsaw as proof he had used the public money properly.
Deputies later discovered, however, the chainsaw was stolen and indicate in the Probable Cause Statement that Vega admitted to stealing it from ASARCO Ray Mine, a former employer. According to the Form IV, he stated that when he was being investigated by Gila County for the theft of public funds he figured he would turn in the chainsaw to cover the amount of money he had stolen from the town.
Vega was arrested in late-February 2013 and subsequently charged for theft and trafficking of stolen goods.
During what was set to be a final pretrial conference, prior to his jury trial set for June 3, 2014, Charles Vega accepted the plea agreement for one count of Attempted Fraudulent Schemes and Practices.
Sentencing for Vega is set for Monday, June 16, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. before Honorable Henry Gooday Jr and while parties stipulated to a sentence of supervised probation, according to the plea agreement, Vega faces up to a maximum of two years in prison, if he violates the terms set for his probation.